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Death most common reason for anesthesia malpractice claims

The risks associated with anesthesia often concern patients preparing for surgery in North Carolina. An analysis of data from the National Practitioner Data Bank about anesthesia-related malpractice claims between 2005 and 2013 showed that death remains the leading reason for lawsuits in this category. Female victims produced 54 percent of such lawsuits, and most injured patients were between 40 and 59 years old.

The data also revealed that payments on medical malpractice claims for anesthesia complications fell during the same time period. In 2005, paid claims totaled $174.4 million, and the total dropped in 2013 to $91.1 million. Despite this apparent progress, claims arising from surgeries performed at outpatient centers accounted for a growing percentage of legal actions.

An anesthesiologist commenting on the findings speculated that the increased complexity of surgeries done in an outpatient setting could be the cause of the growing number of claims. Although more difficult surgeries remain the purview of inpatient facilities, the anesthesiologist explained that some hospital legal departments could be managing their claims more efficiently and keeping them out of court.

A person who experienced a negative outcome from anesthesia in the course of a surgical procedure will need to show that negligence occurred in order to collect compensation. An attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation could inform the victim about the viability of a lawsuit for recovering damages attributed to anesthesia or anesthesia errors. In these types of cases, the attorney will normally review the patient's hospital records and obtain the opinion of one or more medical experts in order to determine whether hospital negligence in fact occurred.

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