Deaths from Anesthesia Errors Drop While Complications Persist, New Study Reveals

July 6, 2015

Anesthesiology is often considered to be among the riskier practices, as delivering the appropriate amount of anesthesia to keep a patient under for a specific amount of time often requires a complex analysis of a patient’s medical condition and medical history (among other things). Should mistakes be made because essential info is overlooked, this could cause life-threatening complications for patients.

Interestingly, however, a study recently published in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management is reporting that anesthesia-related fatalities have been decreasing in recent years.

A Closer Look at the Study’s Findings

A new study has found that, while anesthesia errors are causing fewer deaths, they are still resulting in complications, our Portland medical malpractice attorney explains.

A new study has found that, while anesthesia errors are causing fewer deaths, they are still resulting in complications, our Portland medical malpractice attorney explains.

This study was entitled, “Analysis of Patient Injury based on Anesthesiology Closed Claims Data from a Major Malpractice Insurer,” was led by renowned anesthesiologists from Stanford and Harvard, along with a “patient safety expert” from an insurance group.

Here’s specifically what the findings of this study were:

  • Nearly 4 in every 5 anesthesia-related claims from patients involved complications from the drugs that patients had been informed about prior to surgery. This led researchers to surmise that, in these cases, patients were likely not correlating their conditions with the information they had received prior to being administered the anesthesia.
  • Medical professionals’ delayed responses to patients’ changing vital signs, which could indicate that patients were experiencing anesthesia-related complications, could be due to medical professionals turning off or ignoring monitor alarms. This reveals how the phenomenon known as “alarm fatigue” could be a major contributing factor to anesthesia complications progressing.
  • In about 15 percent of anesthesia complication claims filed by patients, medical professionals’ “inadequate preoperative assessments” were identified as the cause of anesthesia complications (as the wrong amounts of drugs were administered to patients because the pre-surgery assessments didn’t fully consider patients’ medical histories, etc.).
  • The most common injury or complication patients reported after receiving anesthesia was tooth damage.
  • The most prominent patient characteristic associated with claims regarding anesthesia-related complications was obesity.

What do you think about the findings of this study? Share your opinions with us on Facebook & Google+.

Portland Medical Malpractice Attorney at the Savage Law Firm

If you or someone you love has been injured due to anesthesia errors or any form of medical negligence, you can rely on a seasoned Portland medical malpractice attorney at the Savage Law Firm for experienced help and aggressive legal advocacy. For more than 30 years, our lawyers have been devoted to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.

Let us put our experience, skills, dedication and resources to work helping you with your financial recovery.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Anesthesia/Medication Errors