Approximately 20 million patients receive anesthesia annually in the United States, and even though most encounter no problems some experience serious incidents. Each year, 2,000 or more deaths occur that can be attributed primarily to the induction of anesthesia, with the majority of these deaths considered to be preventable.
In 2012, the International Anesthesia Research Society reported that more than 80% of the anesthesiologists surveyed had been involved in a “fatal or serious incident to a patient during a surgical procedure.”
Almost 70% of the medical negligence claims brought against anesthesiologists that result in success for the claimants are based on the improper administration of anesthetic agents.
It is critical for attorneys to understand the medicine in this area and for physicians and insurers to learn about potential malpractice liability.