Older Anesthesiologists Have Higher Litigation Rates

(HealthDay News) – Anesthesiologists >65 years of age have a higher frequency of litigation and greater severity of injury than their younger counterparts, according to an article published in the March issue of Anesthesiology.

Michael J. Tessler, MD, of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, and colleagues conducted a study using billing data for anesthesiology procedures performed in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario by specialist anesthesiologists <51 years, those aged 51–64 years, and those >65 years of age. These data were compared with information obtained from litigation complaints handled by the Canadian Medical Protective Association, in which anesthesiology procedures were deemed at least partially to blame.

Using the younger anesthesiologist group as the reference category, the researchers found that anesthesiologists aged 51–64 years had a litigation rate ratio of 1.15 (95% CI, 0.95–1.38) and those >65 years had a litigation rate ratio of 1.5 (95% CI, 1.11–2.03). Using disability weighted claims, the relative increase in disability was 1.31 for the 51–64-year-old group and 1.94 for the 65+ group.

“We found a higher frequency of litigation and a greater severity of injury in patients treated by anesthesiologists in the 65+ group. The reasons for these findings should become an active field of research,” the authors write.

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