Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

5 Keys to Safer Hospital Sedation

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Conscious sedation is routinely used with patients so that they can tolerate procedures that may cause them discomfort, anxiety, or pain. Some of the tests and procedures conscious sedation may be used for are:

  • Breast biopsy
  • Dental prosthetic or reconstructive surgery
  • Minor bone fracture repair
  • Minor foot surgery
  • Minor skin surgery
  • Plastic or reconstructive surgery
  • Procedures to diagnose and treat some stomach (upper endoscopy), colon (colonoscopy), lung (bronchoscopy), and bladder (cystoscopy) conditions.

Conscious sedation may also be used with pediatric patients or adult patients who may have difficulty remaining still for certain tests and medical procedures.

Kenney Rapid Response Activitations

Click the image to hear the interview on sedation with Richard Kenney, RRT

Risks of over-sedation

Although procedures in which conscious sedation are used are generally safe for patients, the American Society of Anesthesiologists cautions that there are risks to over-sedating or under-sedating patients:

“At times, these sedation practices may result in cardiac or respiratory depression, which must be rapidly recognized and appropriately managed to avoid the risk of hypoxic brain damage, cardiac arrest, or death. Conversely, inadequate sedation analgesia may result in undue patient discomfort or patient injury because of lack of cooperation or adverse physiologic or psychological response to stress.”

White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles has experienced a “better than 50% reduction in calls of rapid responses”, according to Richard Kenney, MSM, RRT, NPS, ACCS, RCP (Director, Respiratory Care Services, White Memorial Medical Center).

To better understand what Adventist Health hospitals have done to reduce rapid response calls and improve patient safety and health outcomes, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) interviewed Mr. Kenney.

To read about these 5 keys in Mr. Kenney’s interview titled, “Avoiding Respiratory Depression During Conscious Sedation,” please go to The Doctor Weighs In.

To view the interview with Mr. Kenney, please please click here.

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