Medical Legal Aspects of Regional Anesthesia: Physician Perspective
• A legal relationship exists when a patient voluntarily and with informed or, under special circumstances, implied consent, seeks the care of a physician who accepts the responsibility to render such care.
• It is suggested that anesthesiologists familiarize themselves with basic legal tenets and terms relating to liability and malpractice in the event that a claim is brought against them. Familiarity with the legal process before being sued is also recommended.
• Many professional guidelines, standards, and statements exist, including those published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, which address all aspects of anesthesia practice.
• Use of other items, such as pre-procedural checklists and time outs, are recommended to help achieve optimum safety when administering regional anesthesia.
KeywordsMedical malpractice Physician–patient relationship Informed consent Legal terminology: tort law American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Closed Claims Project American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Statements and Guidelines Expert witness Risk management and quality assurance Awareness Checklists in medicine Wrong-site nerve blocks Time out
The author thanks H. Joseph Byron, Esq. for reviewing this chapter and offering expert editorial advice concerning legal issues.
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