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Anesthesia errors and how to prevent them

Surgeries and other procedures involving anesthesia in Hawaii are accompanied by a certain amount of risk. Errors relating to this can result in a number of complications including more serious ones such as brain damage and death. By studying why these errors occur, professionals in the industry are continually working on ways to reduce these mistakes.

A study in The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists focused on how errors related to situational awareness led to serious patient harm. These types of errors include lack of monitoring, inadequate evaluation of the patient, lack of understanding of a serious situation and lack of planning for challenging circumstances. These situational awareness mistakes resulted in malpractice claims related to serious injuries such as:

  • Respiratory system damage
  • Brain damage
  • Death 

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists reports that communication among all participating healthcare providers and support staff is extremely important to build shared situational awareness, and that coordination is imperative. Pre-operative briefings have been shown to reduce the number of errors during surgery. During this time, the team can review pre-procedure checklists, safety considerations, patient information and participate in time-out assessments. 

Communication is also important to minimize post-operative errors. When transferring care from one healthcare provider to another, key concerns about patient management and recovery should be reviewed. Communication should include:

  • Report of situation or problem
  • Pertinent information related to the patient and situation
  • Analysis of options
  • Recommended actions

Employing information technology during the transfer of care has also been shown to increase collaboration, improve medication management, save time and generate reports.

 

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