In an article published in the March, 2012 issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, the results of a survey sent to 1,200 randomly selected members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, of which 659 completed and returned the survey, found that 84% of the respondents had been involved in at least one unanticipated death or serious injury of a patient during surgery during their careers.
The results of this survey do not address the specifics of the unanticipated catastrophic events so we are unable to determine how many of the events were due to substandard medical care (medical malpractice) and how many were not due to medical negligence. Nonetheless, the survey results shed some light on the emotional impact that unanticipated medical events have on the medical practitioners who are involved in patient care.
The reported emotional impact on these anesthesiologists from their unanticipated events included feelings of guilt, anxiety, and the reliving of the events (over 70% reported such issues). The vast majority of the survey respondents also reported that they needed time to emotionally recover from the event (88%), with 19% reporting that they never fully recovered.
The emotional impact on some was so severe that 12% considered changing their careers due to the event. Sixty seven percent of the respondents felt that their ability to continue to provide patient care was compromised during the immediate 4 hours after the event but only 7% of them were offered time off.
We must never forget that medical providers are human beings with emotional needs and emotional responses to unusual or unanticipated events. Not all “bad outcomes” from medical care are due to medical malpractice but the effect on people’s lives may be the same — painful and permanent injuries that last a lifetime, which may be shortened due to the medical mistakes. It is when the medical provider breached the standard of care (that is, committed medical malpractice) that the injured may seek and obtain compensation from their negligent medical providers for their losses.
If you or a family member may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, the services of a medical malpractice attorney may be essential in investigating your possible medical malpractice claim and explaining to you your legal rights in the matter.
If you believe that you may be the victim of medical malpractice, click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be willing to investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and bring a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate. If you prefer, you may also call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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