"Loss of situation awareness" by medical staff: Reflecting on the moral and legal status of a psychological concept

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Breakey, Hugh
van Winsen, Roel D
Dekker, Sidney WA
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2015
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Abstract

This article examines the emergence of "accurate situation awareness (SA)" as a legal and moral standard for judging professional negligence in medicine. It argues that SA constitutes a status, an outcome resulting from the confluence of a wide array of factors, some originating inside and others outside the agent. SA does not connote an action, a practice, a role, a task, a virtue, or a disposition - the familiar objects of moral and legal appraisal. The argument contends that invoking SA becomes problematic when is use broadens to include professional or legally appraisable norms for behaviour, which expect a certain state of awareness from practitioners.

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Journal of Law and Medicine

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22

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3

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© 2015 Thomson Reuters. This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Journal of Law and Medicine and should be cited as Breakey et al, "Loss of situation awareness" by medical staff: Reflecting on the moral and legal status of a psychological concept, (2015) 22 JLM 632. For all subscription inquiries please phone, from Australia: 1300 304 195, from Overseas: +61 2 8587 7980 or online at legal.thomsonreuters.com.au/search. The official PDF version of this article can also be purchased separately from Thomson Reuters at http://sites.thomsonreuters.com.au/journals/subscribe-or-purchase.

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Biomedical and clinical sciences

Law and legal studies

Law and society and socio-legal research

Philosophy and religious studies

Medical ethics

Health services and systems

Law in context

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