Oral Health Group

Vigilance Is Subject To Fatigue

June 10, 2019
by Kevin McCann

From 30 May until 1 June 2019, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons from across Canada will convene in Calgary, AB for the 66th Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (CAOMS). The meeting is an excellent opportunity to maintain or enhance our surgical knowledge, meet with representatives from industry suppliers, and to rekindle friendships with our colleagues. The theme of this year’s meeting is: ‘Back to Basics’ and will focus on many of our core competencies. It will feature a day long, hands-on symposium on airway management which will involve simulation training at the University of Calgary school of medicine. From a social perspective, one of the highlights of the meeting will be the annual President’s Gala at which time our Association will thank our departing President, Dr. Catherine Dale of Winnipeg, MB for her efforts over the past year. At the same time, I will assume the role of the CAOMS’s 59th President. I look forward to the coming year with both anticipation and a degree of trepidation, as I follow in the footsteps of many fine Past Presidents. Issac Newton’s statement, “If I have seen further it is by standing on shoulders of Giants” seems quite appropriate at this time!

As my Presidential year progresses, one of the issues that I hope to focus on is vigilance in our daily practice. In 2018, those who practice in Ontario were faced with new Standards of Practice for both infection prevention and control as well as the use of sedation and anesthesia in the dental practice. While these changes were required due to our constantly expanding knowledge in these areas of dental practice, there have been several high-profile cases in Canada that suggest that we need to do more. It could be argued that some of these cases involved a degree of complacency or lack of vigilance, and therefore our regulators responded in the public’s best interest by formulating stronger standards of practice. It is incumbent on all of us to maintain a high degree of vigilance in the area of infection prevention and control in our offices. While it would be unwise to compare one discipline with another, the surgical disciplines of dentistry pose perhaps the highest risk to the public when one’s attention to detail is allowed to wane. Vigilance in the area of sedation and anesthesia needs to be paramount at all times. One should not depend solely on a monitor or a machine to let us know that all is well. Well trained practitioners and staff who are using all ‘senses’ are equally important. While we do have an excellent safety record across Canada, we simply cannot rest on our laurels. We need to remain vigilant at all times in order to remain at the peak of performance. We need to treat every patient as if it is our spouse, son or daughter.


I look forward to my year as President of my own specialty organization, and hope that I can follow in some amazing footsteps.

About The Author
Kevin McCann maintains a private practice of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

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