In this study, the construct and the role of distributed situation awareness (DSA) on the anaesthetic management of challenging major obstetric haemorrhage (MOH) cases is explored, specifically the anaesthetist's perception of the operating theatre elements, the understanding of their meaning and the anticipation of their progress in interaction with other people and artefacts. Eighteen anaesthetists from four Scottish Hospitals were asked to discuss a challenging MOH case from their experience, prompted by questions emanating from a critical decision method protocol. The majority of the described DSA references were attributed to gathering information and in interaction with external artefacts, including monitors, suction containers, the whiteboard and even swabs. For understanding and anticipating, the majority of DSA references emerged in interaction with other team members within and outside the operating theatre. Methods for improving practice and training in MOH should address the interactive nature of DSA, by going beyond monitoring anaesthetic displays.
- control theory
- critical decision method
- Distributed situation awareness