Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Are Hospitals Giving Away Money?

At a recent presentation in Washington DC, Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety) asked, “Are hospitals giving away money?”

An analysis of more than 3,300 closed claims of the American Society of Anesthesiologists by Julia I. Metzner, MD, “Risks of Anesthesia at Remote Locations” shows that:

  • Almost 1 in 10 events were preventable with monitoring (8.6%)
  • About 1 in 4 events were due to substandard care (37.4%)

These preventable patient harms cost hospitals money. Referring to Dr. Metzner’s research, Mr. Wong said that the median payment per claim can be $210,000 for events that occur in the operating room and $330,000 for claims that occur outside the operating room.

Continuous Monitoring Could Have Saved These Lives

The benefits of continuous electronic monitoring have been proven by hospital experience, said Mr. Wong:

“Opioid safety, for patients receiving opioids in hospital and healthcare facilities,” said Mr. Wong, “is the management and minimization of the risks of respiratory compromise, adverse events, and death through continuous respiratory monitoring with pulse oximetry for oxygenation and with capnography for adequacy of ventilation.”

For a pdf of the presentation, please click here.

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