Steps to Addressing Anesthesiology Mistakes

  Mistakes made by anyone in the medical field can have serious consequences, but some of the most noticeable and most costly can come at the hands of anesthesiologists. Whether it is an improper use of drugs or a poor intubation, the results are likely to be painful or even deadly. In order to better help anesthesiologists and those who work with them avoid these mistakes, here is a list of the top three reasons anesthesiologists make mistakes.

  1. Poor communication

Whether it is the doctor not communicating the needs of the patient or the anesthesiologist not communicating issues such as fatigue or uncertainty, when professionals don’t speak to each other, the results can turn ugly. This is also the case when patients feel their thoughts are not welcome in a conversation. Anesthesiologists need to communicate to patients that they should speak up about any concerns they have up to the point they are incapable of doing so. Making this point directly can help avoid making problems worse.

  1. Poor training

Whether it is a lack of training, a lack of general experience, or an unfamiliarity with certain drugs or procedures, an anesthesiologist can make numerous mistakes simply by not knowing precisely what to do. It is an unfortunate fact that for all the medical training an anesthesiologist goes through, there are still situations where he or she can find themselves out of their depth. To avoid these problems, make it clear to the anesthesiologist that speaking up about concerns will in no way impact their status in the operating room. Should an anesthesiologist wish to bring in a more experienced colleague—assuming one is available in a timely fashion—that should be encouraged. All doctors have to learn on the job, but minimizing how much that is done in serious situations will go a long way to minimizing mistakes.

  1. Poor understanding of the case

On the opposite side, sometimes doctors and anesthesiologists can be overly confident, particularly in cases that appear to be straightforward and standard. In such cases, particularly with a heavy caseload, the anesthesiologist may only take the shortest of glances as a medical chart. Poor communication, as seen in point one, can mean any misapprehensions are never addressed, and then very dire mistakes might be made due to this hurried sloppiness. Giving doctors the optimal amount of time to get to know the patient is always a desire of every hospital, and often there seems to be little that can be done to address this issue. However, one step that can be taken is to enforce a certain amount of time spent with the case in order to become acquainted with the specific needs of each patient. Better chart management, with unique qualities highlighted near the top, would also help. The issue of medical mistakes is well-known to the medical community. There are the constant fears of medical malpractice suits, as well as the much greater fear of guilt for mistakes that cause lasting damage to innocent patients. Taking a few small steps to address these three issues can help ensure anesthesiologists are doing their jobs as safely and thoroughly as possible.

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