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Medical Malpractice Claims: Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is a medical treatment given to patients to prevent them from feeling pain during certain procedures (i.e. surgery, biopsies, screenings and diagnostic tests, dental work, etc.). Anesthesia can be administered via an injection, inhaled, as a topical lotion or spray, or skin patch. There are three types of anesthesia that patients may be administered, such as:

  • General anesthesia, which renders a patient completely unconscious.
  • Regional anesthesia, which only affects a part of the body.
  • Local anesthesia, which is applied to a small part of the body.

While anesthesia is meant to help patients, you may suffer damage or complications after being administered anesthesia. If given too much or too little anesthesia or the wrong type of anesthesia, you or a loved one can suffer from serious injuries or may die.

You can pursue compensation in a medical malpractice claim if mistakes were made during or after the administration of anesthesia by filing a claim against the hospital (or medical facility) or the anesthesiologist. However, you will need to prove that the guilty party acted negligently and breach their duty of care and that recklessness or breach caused you harm, which resulted in damages.

In this article, we will discuss the common types of anesthesia errors made, potential complications from anesthesia errors, and what causes such errors to occur. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an anesthesia-related medical malpractice incident, you should consult with our firm as we can advise you on whether you have a case, help you understand your legal rights and options, and handle the case legalities.

Common Anesthesia Errors

Medical professionals can make anesthesia errors before, during, or after the procedure is undertaken. Common anesthesia-related mistakes are:

  • Not informing the patient about the risks of the operation and administration of anesthesia
  • Not reviewing a patient’s medical history regarding complications or allergies
  • Administering the anesthesia late
  • Administering an improper amount of anesthesia
  • Administering the incorrect type of anesthesia for the procedure
  • Not monitoring a patient’s surgical oxygen and vital signs
  • Inserting the patient’s intubation tube incorrectly
  • Using faulty or dirty equipment
  • Leaving a patient sedated for too long
  • Leaving a patient who is still sedated unsupervised
  • Failing to give the patient proper pre- or post-operation or procedure instructions

Anesthesia-Related Complications

Common complications a patient can suffer from anesthesia errors include (but are not limited to):

  • Anaphylaxis (i.e. a severe allergic reaction)
  • Anesthesia awareness (i.e. waking up during your surgery or operation)
  • Blood clots
  • Brain damage
  • Delirium
  • Intubation injuries (i.e. damaged larynx, sore throat, etc.)
  • Nerve damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Post-op pain (that exceeds the pain typically caused by the operation)
  • Respiratory issues
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Death

What Causes Anesthesia Errors?

If you are wondering how anesthesia errors happen, they are often caused by human error. Anesthesia errors can occur if an anesthesiologist is:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol while working.
  • Not familiar with the equipment, devices, and/or hospital procedures (as this can affect whether they control the IV flow rate properly and attend to the patient as needed).
  • Rushed or careless in the care they offer their patient
  • Not experienced.

Get Help Establishing Liability & Building Your Case

In medical malpractice cases involving anesthesia errors, you will also need to establish whether the anesthesiologist or the hospital (or both) is liable. Who can be held liable will largely depend on whether the anesthesiologist is a contractor or an employee of the hospital. Regardless of who the negligent party is, you will need to prove that they acted outside of the standard of care and caused you damage.

At the Law Offices of David Henderson, our attorney has over two decades of legal experience. Once you retain our services, we can help you investigate the circumstances of your accident, collect evidence, and prove that your anesthesiologist or the hospital acted negligently. Known for our dedication to our clients and to excellence, we can work tirelessly to achieve the best possible case results and help you fight to receive the damages you are owed.

Suffered an injury because of an anesthesia-related mistake? Schedule a free initial consultation today by connecting with us online or calling (888) 295-6566.