In December of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration released a warning on some anesthesia and sedative drugs, stating that their use in children may lead to negative neurological and behavioral effects. The FDA later released an update on the issue, stating that medically necessary surgeries should not be delayed because of anesthesia concerns, but that a delay of potentially elective surgeries should be given consideration. The announcements have some Rhode Island surgeons considering the effects of the new information on risks of surgical malpractice.
The issue is complicated, but some people have taken away the concept that physicians must openly and transparently discuss the benefits and risks of surgery to pediatric patients. There is risk associated with delaying surgery, and there is also potential risk with using anesthesia. Another option is to consider regional anesthesia versus general.
If a surgeon does not refer a patient to a needed surgery in a timely manner, and the delay is the reason for an injury, the surgeon may be responsible for failure to timely refer. If the young child suffers neurological or behavioral effects due to lengthy or frequent exposure to strong medicines, the surgeon may also be responsible for malpractice. Until further, more complete studies of the issue are released, discussion and documentation of risks and benefits of surgery can be helpful to families and physicians alike.
Surgical malpractice is a serious risk for surgeons and patients. An individual who is harmed by a surgeon may become disabled or even lose a life. Individuals in Rhode Island who have been harmed by medical malpractice have the right to contact an attorney to seek justice.
Source: aappublications.org, "FDA warning on anesthesia calls attention to malpractice risks associated with medications, failure to timely refer", Gary N. McAbee, D.O., J.D., FAAP and Steven M. Donn, M.D., FAAP, Sept. 27, 2017