Catastrophes in anaesthetic practice | Association of Anaesthetists

Catastrophes in anaesthetic practice

This document is currently being revised


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