Daily Archives: January 16, 2013

Anesthesiologists study easily preventable medical malpractice injuries

A research report on anesthesiology medical malpractice was presented to doctors at their recent professional society conference. The published study results show that the injuries caused by the anesthesia doctors during surgery are too often easily preventable, if only the doctors were to follow manufacturer instructions and safety guidelines. Malpractice insurance company data and clinical facts were analyzed to determine the cause of injury to the patient and look into ways of preventing future injuries. The researchers noted that although there has been a continuing decline in patients being injured by an anesthesiologist during an operation from the 1970s until 2010, the injuries that still occur appear to be regularly caused by the doctor ignoring directions. For example, the report shows that some doctors are negligent in properly checking their equipment prior to the surgery. In addition, there are some physicians who bypass safety protocols by placing heating devices or hot IV bags directly on or too close to the victim’s skin. This can cause the victim to suffer with severe burns and can even cause a fire in the operating room. Patient safety advocates explain that the entire job of the anesthesiologist is to maintain the patient’s comfort while not compromising their safety during the surgery. When a doctor refuses to follow safety protocols, he or she may be placing the patient in greater danger than the patient’s disease. Public health administrators and safety advocates explain that it is important to use a checklist in order to avoid forgetting something important that can lead to injury or death in the operating room. Physician negligence while placing a specialized intravenous line, called a central line, can cause an air embolism, injury to blood vessels, brain damage and even death. The investigators noted that doctors who caused patient injury or death and were sued for malpractice had failed to use proper ultrasound technology in placing the catheter. Liability insurance companies and public health specialists continue to work on properly training physicians to follow safety procedures and avoid dangerous habits that can lead to injuring or killing a patient victim. Read more about this medical malpractice research here.

Photo by U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons