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Preventable Injuries Frequent in Anesthesia

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2013 | Medical Malpractice |

According to an article that appeared in the January 2013 issue of Anesthesiology News, an analysis of more than 9,500 closed claims filed against anesthesiologists found that many patients experience preventable injuries that could be avoided with proper use of equipment.

“In about 40% to 50% of the claims we reviewed, the care seemed totally appropriate,” said Karen Domino, MD, MPH, former director of the Closed Claims Project, who presented the findings at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “But in many cases, the patient’s injury is a result of [the anesthesiologist] not following directions or not being vigilant.”  Dr. Domino, chair of the ASA’s professional liability committee, and her colleagues found that patients continue to experience preventable injuries from gas delivery equipment, burns from the misuse of forced-air warming units and complications from central venous catheters (CVCs). Many of these injuries could be prevented by following instructions from the manufacturer of the devices, along with ASA recommendations for use of the equipment, Dr. Domino said.

The bottom line, Dr. Domino said, is that when using their equipment, anesthesiologists should follow instructions from the manufacturer as well as the ASA and other bodies that issue guidelines on the proper use of medical equipment. “We need to use the equipment in the proper fashion, in the way the companies that manufactured it have instructed,” she said.

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