It’s never just a block: An analysis of regional anesthesia closed claims

Maria Hirsch, Marjorie Geisz-Everson, Beth Ann Clayton, Bryan Wilbanks, Mary Golinski, Michael Kremer, Kelly Wiltse Nicely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anesthesia care increasingly includes use of regional anesthesia techniques, either as a primary anesthetic or to reduce the patient’s postoperative pain. Both neuraxial anesthesia and peripheral nerve blockade have several noteworthy functions. These functions include diminishing sensory sensation to pain and potentially producing a motor blockade, both of which may facilitate the surgical procedure. The desire to reduce reliance on opioid medications, protocols to enhance and accelerate patient recovery from surgery, and patient expectations all contribute to the likelihood that use of regional anesthesia will continue to gain popularity. As such, it is essential to understand whether an association exists between regional anesthesia and adverse outcomes of care. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation Closed Claim Research Team searched the most current database of closed claims that involved adverse outcomes when either a peripheral nerve block or a neuraxial block was a component of care in the claims. Although there were only 32 claims in the dataset, a thematic analysis resulted in the identification of 3 themes: errors in cognitive decision making, ineffective communication patterns, and production pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalAANA journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Closed claims
  • Malpractice
  • Neuraxial block
  • Peripheral nerve block
  • Regional anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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