A Medical-Legal Review Regarding the Standard of Care for Epidural Injections, With Particular Reference to a Closed Case
Pain physician 2010 Mar ; 13(2): 145-50
Interventional pain management is an evolving field, with a primary focus on the safety of the patient. One major source of risk to patients is intraarterial or intraneural injections. Interventional pain physicians have considerable interest in identifying techniques which avoid these complications. A recent article has reviewed complications associated with interventional procedures and concluded that the complications were due to deviation from a specific prescribed protocol. One of the cases reviewed went to jury trial and the record of that case is in the public domain. Two of the authors of the recent review were expert witnesses in the trial. They provided conflicting testimony as to alleged violations of the standard of care. Their criticisms also differed from a third criticism contained in the article as well as the protocol being advocated in the article, thus contravening the claim that there is one prescribed protocol which must be followed. The definition of standard of care varies amongst jurisdictions, but is generally defined as either that care which a reasonably well-trained physician in that specialty would provide under similar circumstances or as what would constitute reasonable medical care under the circumstances presented. Analysis of the case which went to trial indicates that there is not one prescribed protocol which must be followed; the definition of standard of care is broader than that. Interventional pain management is an evolving field and the standard of care is broadly defined.
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