Discrepancies in Charting, Testimony after AIMS Outage Lead to Reversal of Defense's Directed Verdict

January 27, 2021 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​In a case centered on the death of a patient three months after he suffered cardiac arrest while under anesthesia for a colonoscopy, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled the circuit court erred in granting a partial directed verdict in favor of the healthcare facility on the negligence claim against the anesthesiologist.

The patient underwent a colonoscopy with anesthesia at the hospital, administered by an attending anesthesiologist and an attending certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The anesthesiologist and CRNA developed a medical plan for administering anesthesia to the patient to address his known health concerns, including being overweight, and his preexisting conditions, including sleep apnea, chronic heart failure, an elevated heart rate, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, a genetic blood disorder, gallbladder disease, and high cholesterol. During the procedure, the patient was monitored and the information was supposed to be captured using an anesthesia information management system (AIMS). When the patient's colonoscopy began, the monitors were displaying vital signs, but the AIMS did not capture and record data for several minutes. The CRNA paged an information technology (IT) specialist and sent two messages to attempt to fix the software, while continuing to monitor the screens showing the patient's vital signs. After the CRNA paged the IT specialist but before the...

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