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More outpatient medical malpractice anesthesiology claims

As an increasing number of outpatient surgeries and medical services are being performed in Ohio, there has been a corresponding increase in the proportion of medical malpractice anesthesiology claims for outpatient settings compared to overall anesthesiology claims. At the same time, the proportion of inpatient anesthesiology claims for medical malpractice has decreased.

According to a report in Anesthesiology News, anesthesiology medical malpractice payments have fallen substantially recently. From a high of $174.4 million in 2005, the payments totaled around $91.1 million in 2013. In a study of 2,408 cases between those years, 23.5 percent of the claims were for anesthesiology malpractice in outpatient settings, and 76.5 percent were for those occurring in inpatient settings.

While the study's authors pointed out that the most common result of the errors in both settings was the death of the patient, the claim amounts paid for those occurring in outpatient settings were substantially lower than those for inpatient settings. Outpatient anesthesiology claims averaged $189,349, while inpatient payments averaged $261,742. At the same time, services provided in outpatient settings were significantly higher, with a median cost of $554,000 as opposed to the median cost for inpatient services of $285,000. It is unclear why the payments for anesthesiology malpractice in outpatient settings are so much lower than those in inpatient environments.

An anesthesia error can have fatal consequences. Doctors should screen potential patients to make certain they are not high risk before agreeing to perform surgeries on an outpatient basis. In the event a person dies as a result of an anesthesiology error, the surviving family members may want to discuss with a medical malpractice attorney the procedures that are involved in seeking damages through a lawsuit against the negligent health care practitioner and facility.

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