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December 13, 1965

Anesthesia Mortality in Private Practice: A Ten-Year Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Springfield Hospital and Wesson Maternity Hospital, Springfield, Mass.

JAMA. 1965;194(11):1185-1188. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090240019004

A total of 114,866 anesthetics was administered over a ten-year period (1955 to 1964) by a group of anesthesiologists in private practice. Of this total, 1,027 patients did not survive their surgical-anesthetic experience. The incidence of primary anesthetic death in surgery was 1:3,145. The incidence of primary cardiac arrest was 1:4,994 and the recovery rate was 44.4%. No primary or contributory anesthetic deaths occurred in 43,045 consecutive deliveries. The primary fault of the anesthesiologist was improper management of the anesthetic and the secondary fault was improper management in the immediate postoperative period.