Safe Sedation

Sedation for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures is ubiquitous in modern healthcare, but always entails some risks.  Because of variability in personnel, procedures and the skills of those involved, there have been numerous episodes of preventable morbidity and mortality.


Anaesthetist Jo Sutherland has written a short personal ‘opinion piece’ directed to anaesthetists in Australia which is available  here     She discusses the need to ensure safe sedation by non-anaesthetists, and suggests why and how anaesthetists can address this challenge, including useful resources.


The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists has produced an authoritative guideline on procedural sedation (entitled ‘PS09’), which has been endorsed by a number of other professional Colleges and Societies.  Given the breadth of endorsement, it is reasonable to consider that this document would be considered the ‘standard of care’ in a legal dispute.  The guideline is available below:-