Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger advises hospitals to use aviation model for safety

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger encouraged hospital leaders attending the American Hospital Association's Leadership Summit in San Diego to adopt the safety culture of the aviation industry. 

According to an article in HealthLeaders Media, Sullenberger advised hospitals that the current mindset that “accidents are inevitable” must be changed to “accidents are unimaginable”.  He listed numerous improvements to airline safety that have reduced accidental death in an aircraft from one in two million between 1967 to 1976 to one in 10 million today.  He noted that if airline safety was as spotty as hospital safety, airlines would be out of business and Congressional inquiries would be initiated.  One example of an area that could be improved immediately is the use of checklists to reduce infections. 

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, July 26, 2010; HealthLeaders Media,, July 23, 2010)