Anesthesiologists Increasingly Responsible for Wrong-Site Procedures

Anesthesiologist error is to blame for an increasing number of wrong-site procedures, according to a report by General Surgery News.

Data from Pennsylvania's Patient Safety Authority showed the share of errors attributed to wrong-site blocks in the state increased from 20 percent of the total in 2004 to 44 percent of the total in 2009. Some anesthesia experts attribute the increase in anesthesia-related wrong site problems to the increased use of nerve blocks. As anesthesiologists use nerve blocks in place of general anesthesia with increasing frequency, they must make sure the correct block site is marked prior to administering the block.

A pilot study conducted by the Joint Commission's Center for Transforming Healthcare at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City discovered that Universal Protocol safety checks were not always followed prior to surgery. The hospital created a new process called an "active time-out," in which the surgeon, anesthesiologist and scrub person are each responsible for a series of questions and statements in response to the circulating nurse.

Read the General Surgery News report on anesthesia and wrong-site procedures.

Read more on anesthesia:

-Study: Surgical Checklists Require Training to Achieve Surgeon, Anesthesiologist Compliance

-U.S. Army, Virginia Commonwealth University Place First in Nurse Anesthesia Graduate Programs

-Study: Rolapitant Reduces Vomiting After Surgery

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