A new study that looked at anesthesia-related injuries and medical malpractice shed new light on the kinds of injuries caused by improper administration of anesthesia, as well as medical malpractice payments as a result. The study, titled "Analysis of Patient Injury Based on Anesthesiology Closed Claims Data from a Major Malpractice Insurer," was published in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, and looked at data from "607 anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims reported to The Doctors Company."
Anesthesia-Related Medical Malpractice
Below is an overview of the results of the study.
- Damage to teeth - 20.8% of claims
- Death of Patient - 18.3%
- Damage to Nerves - 13.5%
- Organ Damage - 12.7%
- Pain - 10.9%
- Cardiopulmonary Arrest - 10.7%
- Average Indemnity Payment for Anesthesia-Related Malpractice - $309,066
- Average Indemnity Payment for all Physician Specialties Combined- $291,000
- 80% of claims were related to complications that were explained to the patient before the procedure.
- "Inadequate preoperative assessments" were present in 15% of claims.
- Smaller hospitals had fewer claims, but the claims they did have "had higher rates of nerve damage and mortality."
- "Ambulatory surgery centers had the lowest death-to-claim rate, at 12%."
- "The study also found that alarms having been turned off or ignored were sometimes the reason for delayed responses to deteriorating vital signs intraoperatively."