Mortality is the most widely measured outcome parameter. Improvement of this outcome parameter in critical care is nowadays expected not to come from new technologies or treatment, but from delivering the right care at the right moment in a safe way. The measurement of mortality as an outcome parameter confronts us with a problem in providing follow-up to the results. Especially when proven structure and process interventions are applied already, the cause of a suboptimal performance cannot be deduced easily. One possibility is to evaluate the causes of death and to judge preventability. In this article we explore the opportunities and difficulties of a tool to evaluate preventable mortality in the ICU.