Professor Simon John Mitchell



Simon Mitchell is an anaesthesiologist practicing at Auckland City Hospital and a diving physician providing on-call diving emergency services to North Shore Hospital, Auckland. He is the Head of the Department of Anaesthesiology at the School of Medicine, University of Auckland. He is widely published in his fields of clinical expertise, and the related area of patient safety in the operating room. He serves on the Editorial Boards of 4 scientific journals and holds numerous service and executive roles in external academic societies.  He has been a lifelong passionate diver and was a lead member of teams that were the first to locate, dive and identify 3 deep shipwrecks of high historical significance in Australia and New Zealand. At the time of one of these dives it was the deepest (180m - 600’) ever undertaken to a wreck. His contributions to exploration and the science of diving were recognised by election to Fellowship of the Explorers’ Club of New York in 2006 and receipt of the Rolex Diver of the Year Award in 2015.

Research | Current

Patient safety, WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, pathophysiology of decompression sickness, respiratory physiology in diving, carbon dioxide removal in diving circle circuits. 

Teaching | Current

Pharmacology of anaesthesia, physiology, diving physiology, diving medicine.

Postgraduate supervision

Areas suitable for supervised postgraduate study include: patient safety processes, diving physiology, diving medicine, perioperative neuroprotection, various aspects of general anaesthesia care.


2016: Excellence in Diving Medicine Award, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical    Society (UHMS) (USA)

2015: Divers Alert Network / Rolex Diver of the Year Award (USA)

2014: Eurotek Advanced Diving Technologies Conference Discovery Award (UK)

2012: Inaugural Fellowship in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, UHMS (USA)

2010: Albert R Behnke Award, UHMS (USA)

2006: Fellowship of the Explorers Club of New York 


Head of Department of Anaesthesiology

Areas of expertise

Anaesthesiology, diving and hyperbaric medicine, patient safety, human factors

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the Research Committee, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists

Chairman of the Diving Committee, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, USA

Executive Member, South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Ong, A. P. C., Devcich, D. A., Hannam, J., Lee, T., Merry, A. F., & Mitchell, S. J. (2016). A 'paperless' wall-mounted surgical safety checklist with migrated leadership can improve compliance and team engagement. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25 (12), 971-976. 10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004545
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Hannam, Alan Merry
  • Gargiulo, D. A., Mitchell, S. J., Sheridan, J., Short, T. G., Swift, S., Torrie, J., ... Merry, A. F. (2016). Microbiological contamination of drugs during their administration for anesthesia in the operating room. Anesthesiology, 124 (4), 785-794. 10.1097/ALN.0000000000001041
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Derryn Gargiulo, Janie Sheridan, Jane Torrie, Craig Webster, Alan Merry, Simon Swift
  • Devcich, D. A., Weller, J., Mitchell, S. J., McLaughlin, S., Barker, L., Rudolph, J. W., ... Torrie, J. (2015). A behaviourally anchored rating scale for evaluating the use of the WHO surgical safety checklist: Development and initial evaluation of the WHOBARS. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25 (10), 778-786. 10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004448
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jennifer Weller, Jane Torrie, Alan Merry
  • Deng, C., Pollock, N. W., Gant, N., Hannam, J. A., Dooley, A., Mesley, P., & Mitchell, S. J. (2015). The five-minute prebreathe in evaluating carbon dioxide absorption in a closed-circuit rebreather: A randomised single-blind study. Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine, 45 (1), 16-24.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicholas Gant, Carolyn Deng, Jacqueline Hannam
  • Mitchell, S. J., Mesley, P., & Hannam, J. A. (2015). End tidal CO2 in recreational rebreather divers on surfacing after decompression dives. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, 86 (1), 41-45. 10.3357/AMHP.4113.2015
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Hannam
  • Reddy, J. I., Cooke, P. J., van Schalkwyk, J. M., Hannam, J. A., Fitzharris, P., & Mitchell, S. J. (2015). Anaphylaxis is more common with rocuronium and succinylcholine than with atracurium. Anesthesiology, 122 (1), 39-45. 10.1097/aln.0000000000000512
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Hannam
  • Hannam, J. A., Glass, L., Kwon, J., Windsor, J., Stapelberg, F., Callaghan, K., ... Mitchell, S. J. (2013). A prospective, observational study of the effects of implementation strategy on compliance with a surgical safety checklist. BMJ Qual Saf, 22 (11), 940-947. 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001749
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacqueline Hannam, Alan Merry, John Windsor
  • Mitchell, S. J., Bennett, M. H., Bird, N., Doolette, D. J., Hobbs, G. W., Kay, E., ... Walker, R. (2012). Recommendations for rescue of a submerged unresponsive compressed-gas diver. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, 39 (6), 1099-1108. Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level B, Room B005
New Zealand