Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Are The Most Common Anesthesia Complications?

Pardon the profusion of lists on this post but there are some really fascinating data here that every anesthesiologist should read. The Doctors Company, a national medical malpractice insurer, compiled a list of anesthesia claims between 2007 to 2012. A total of 607 cases were identified. Their most common anesthesia complications leading to claims were:

1. Teeth damage-20.8%
2. Death-18.3%
3. Nerve damage-13.5%
4. Organ damage-12.7%
5. Pain-10.9%
6. Cardiac arrest-10.7%

The most common allegations of malpractice against anesthesiologists were:

1. Improper performance of anesthesia procedure-25%
2. Tooth damage related to intubation and extubation-24%
3. Improper management of patient under anesthesia-19%
4. Failure to monitor patient's physiologic status-3%
5. Positioning-related-3%

And what are the improper performance of anesthesia procedures that people are suing for?

1. Injection of anesthesia into the spinal canal-37%
2. Intubation of respiratory tract-35%
3. Injection of anesthesia-peripheral nerve-20%
4. Injection of anesthesia-sympathetic nerve-3%
5. Nasopharyngeal intubation-2%

The average payout for anesthesia related complications was $309,066. That compares poorly with the average for all other physicians, which was only $291,000. However anesthesiologists are right in the middle of the pack in a list of other specialties. Pediatrics had the highest indemnity with well over $1 million while ENT had the least with under $200,000.

There is a lot more information from The Doctors Company study than is presented here.

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