Normas para calamidades y crisis

NUEVA YORK – Hace varios años, mi hija yacía víctima del coma provocado por una caída grave. Dos enfermeras acudieron a su habitación de hospital para preparar una transfusión. Una sostenía una bolsa de sangre y la otra el historial médico de mi hija. La primera leyó en voz alta el rótulo de la bolsa: "sangre del tipo A", y la otra leyó en voz alta en el historial: "Alexa Holmes, sangre del tipo A". A continuación, intercambiaron, conforme a un guión, sus instrumentos y papeles y la primera enfermera leyó en el historial: "Alexa Holmes, sangre de tipo A", y la segunda leyó en la bolsa: "sangre de tipo A".

¿Por qué profesionales bien capacitados, cuando atienden una emergencia que se desarrolla rápidamente, cumplen normas establecidas por adelantado? La razón principal es la de que en momentos de crisis las personas cometen errores previsibles, pero evitables, provocados en gran medida por el pánico. Con el tiempo se han ido creando protocolos detallados para esas situaciones complicadas con el fin de fomentar la sangre fría y reducir al mínimo el riesgo de error evitable.

El valor de la improvisación frente a amenazas nuevas no significa que se deban desechar perentoriamente las normas vigentes. Se trata casi de una trivialidad, pero no parecen haberlo advertido los defensores a la desesperada de la política exterior del gobierno de Bush. Incluso en la actualidad, los candidatos republicanos a la presidencia que llevan ventaja afirman que el Estado de derecho es un lujo prohibitivo en la batalla contra Al Quaeda. Sostienen que el constitucionalismo y las garantías legales, si se aplican meticulosamente, reducen la "flexibilidad" del Gobierno para idear formas de prevenir los ataques terroristas.

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