Obstetrical Surgeons Face a Costly Conundrum

Malignant hyperthermia, a rare complication of general anesthesia, is often fatal without treatment.

An antidote exists—but it’s costly to keep on the shelves, leading a team of Stanford obstetric anesthesiologists to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, published in Anesthesiology, to address the ethical conundrum. They determined that stocking the medication on all maternity units would save about 1 life every 3 years across the US, at a cost of ~$6 million per year.

That makes the procedure cost-prohibitive—and forces a tough call to balance the reality of limited funds against the drive to avert preventable deaths whenever possible.

SCOPE Blog (Stanford Medicine)

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