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Anesthesia errors can put Maryland patients at risk

Anesthesia refers to a medically-induced state, including a loss of responsiveness and muscle reflexes, the inability to feel pain and sometimes, amnesia. It is often used by doctors before performing a medical procedure such as surgery. Under anesthesia, patients do not experience the distress or pain as if they were conscious and receptive to sensation.

Anesthesia comes in different forms, ranging from general anesthesia to spinal and epidural anesthesia, to local anesthesia. While it plays an important role in medical treatment, anesthesia carries certain risks to patients that doctors should check during pre-surgical evaluation. Doctors' errors involving anesthesia may happen without proper precautions.

Anesthesia-related complications have been a serious concern in the healthcare industry for the past several years. There are some cases of medical incidents involving anesthesia that have lead to worsened conditions and even death. However, some reports have stated that there has been a decrease in the number of complications caused by anesthesia. Incidents related to anesthesia in the United States have decreased by more than half according to data of anesthesia use between 2010 and 2013, with complications reduced from 11.8 percent to 4.8 percent over that time.

The most common minor complication among those incidents was vomiting and nausea, accounting for almost 36 percent. Unfortunately, the most common major complication cause is something that could have been prevented by doctors and anesthesiologists, medication error. Medication error made up nearly 12 percent of all anesthesia-related incidents.

The data also recorded fatalities caused by anesthesia-related incidents. According to a study conducted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, fatality rates remained at three deaths per 10,000 surgical procedures involving anesthesia. Patients at the highest risk of anesthesia complications are those aged 50 and above.

Every patient has a different reactions on drugs administered in the hospital. It is the responsibility of doctors to be mindful of anesthesia errors that may endanger a patient's safety.

Source: Medicine.net,"Anesthesia Complications Drop by Half, Study Finds," Oct. 12, 2014

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