Car accidents after ambulatory surgery in patients without an escort

Anesth Analg. 2008 Mar;106(3):817-20, table of contents. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181609531.


Occasionally, ambulatory surgical patients present without an escort for their procedure. This creates a dilemma for caregivers, and allowing patients to drive may have an impact on their safety. The Canadian Medical Protective Association is a mutual defense organization for 95% of Canadian physicians. The national database is a unique and extensive repository of medico-legal data. We scanned this database for malpractice patients who were discharged after an ambulatory surgery procedure and allowed to drive home with a poor outcome. From this database, two malpractice cases of patients who were discharged without an escort after an ambulatory surgical procedure were reported. Both had a car accident and sustained serious injuries. Based on this we do not recommend discharge without an escort after general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, monitored anesthesia or sedation. Driving after ambulatory surgery cannot be considered safe and caregivers need to verify a safe ride home.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Canada
  • Caregivers / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal*
  • Male
  • Malpractice*
  • Patient Discharge / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Transportation of Patients / legislation & jurisprudence*