Dr. Ellison Pierce, "Father of Modern Anesthesia-Safety Movement," Dies at 82

Ellison "Jeep" C. Pierce Jr., MD, a Boston-based anesthesiologist who played a significant role in reducing the rate of anesthesia-related fatalities, has died at age 82, according to a Boston Globe report.

Dr. Pierce founded the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation in 1985 on the principle that no patient should be harmed by anesthesia. His push for great patient safety had a dramatic effect on mortality rates: According to the report, Dr. Pierce's push for electronic monitoring systems for patients under anesthesia caused anesthesia-related deaths to drop from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 200,000 in less than two years.

In a 1997 lecture in San Diego, Dr. Pierce reminded anesthesia providers that "patient safety is not a fad" or "preoccupation of the past," but rather an ongoing necessity. The American Society of Anesthesiologists awarded him the Distinguished Service Award for his work in developing patient safety standards in 1997, and he was called "the father of the modern anesthesia-safety movement" by the Wall Street Journal in 2005.

Dr. Pierce died of heart failure at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston on April 3.

Read the Boston Globe report on Ellison Pierce.

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