Catastrophes in anaesthetic practice | Association of Anaesthetists

Catastrophes in anaesthetic practice

Please note that these guidelines are currently under review and will be updated in due course


Many anaesthetists will be involved with an anaesthetic catastrophe at some point in their career; this may be an expected or unexpected death, or serious injury to a patient. The psychological impact on staff should not be underestimated. This guideline suggests pragmatic ways of dealing with the aftermath of such a catastrophe. 

The advice and information includes:

  • What to do immediately after the event
  • Dealing with the patient’s relatives
  • Dealing with the media
  • The role of the anaesthesia department and the Trust/Board 
  • How do deal emotionally with a catastrophic event
  • Medico-legal issues, and the GMC