In 2015, Medscape wrote a medical malpractice report regarding the major reasons why anesthesiologists get sued. Unfortunately, anesthesia errors are a common feature in medical malpractice, and they can also be the most deadly. In fact, most anesthesiologists will face a lawsuit during their career.
When asked what the nature of their medical malpractice lawsuits entailed, anesthesiologists revealed that they occurred for the following reasons:
- 47% - Patient suffered an abnormal injury
- 9% - Failure to diagnose
- 8% - Failure to treat
- 7% - Failure to follow safety procedures
- 4% - Errors in medication administration
- 4% - Poor documentation of patient education and construction
- 3% - Improperly obtaining/ lack of obtaining informed consent
Following medical malpractice lawsuits, anesthesiologists are able to reflect and consider the events that led up to the lawsuit; however, 58% of anesthesiologists indicated that they believed their work followed the standard of care set out by the profession and that they wouldn’t change their methods going forward. Other anesthesiologists indicated that if they could go back and treat the patient again, they would have:
- 17% - Maintained better chart documentation
- 12% - Never taken on the patient
- 6% - Been more careful with how they phrased things
- 4% - Prepared better for deposition
- 4% - May have gotten a second opinion from a colleague
- 3% - Spent more time with the patient and their family
- 2% - Ordered tests that would have “covered” them in case of a lawsuit
It has been reported that most anesthesia error medical malpractice lawsuits can be avoided simply by the anesthesiologist apologizing to the patient and their family. When this was posed to the anesthesiologists participating in the study, 75% of the male anesthesiologists and 61% of the female anesthesiologists stated that they did not believe that saying “I’m sorry” would have helped. Most anesthesiologists reported that they did not say that they were sorry because they did not believe that they were at fault and that it would not have made a difference anyway.
As Medline’s statistics show, anesthesia and anesthesiology are an incredibly complex medical discipline that can result in several anesthesia errors. It is crucial that you contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer if you believe that you have been the victim of an anesthesia error.
The law differs between states, and if you live in NYC and wish to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, then you will need a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney who can explain the procedure to you and help prove that your lawsuit is justified. Additionally, they will be able to review your documentation and records to determine the viability of your case and the best course of action that you should take.
If you have experienced complications due to an anesthesia error, or if a family member has suffered a similar error, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC on 1-866-516-5887. You can speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys for a free, confidential consultation.