Highly trained medical professionals called anesthesiologists administer anesthesia. Although they are specialized professionals, anesthesiologists are human and capable of making mistakes. Anesthesia errors can be disabling and deadly, and are sometimes the result of medical malpractice.
While no patient facing surgery or another medical procedure wants to consider the possibility of errors with their anesthesia, it is a reality that does occur and all patients should be cognizant of it.
Anesthesia complications are not always linked to substandard care. However, when linked to negligence or incompetence on the part of the medical team, patients may recover damages. Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help you understand your rights under medical malpractice laws and pursue your case from start to finish.
When Anesthesiology Errors Are Medical Malpractice
Anesthesia can cause unexpected reactions or complications. When a patient’s medical history does not indicate any contraindications or health problems that would signal danger, it is difficult to predict an adverse reaction. However, there are common errors that anesthesiologists make that are preventable and therefore may indicate malpractice.
Failure to properly prepare for a medical procedure or account for risks associated with administration of anesthesia can result in errors that may harm the patient. Failure to properly monitor a patient once under anesthesia can also cause preventable complications. The following errors may occur when anesthesia is administered without proper preparation or monitoring.
- Carelessness in reading monitoring devices while the patient is under anesthesia.
- Giving too much or too little anesthesia to the patient.
- Using poorly maintained or defective equipment in the administration of anesthesia.
- Causing an allergic reaction.
- Causing a reaction between another drug taken by the patient and the anesthesia.
You will need to review your case to determine whether you meet the criteria for a successful case. The four criteria that make for a viable case are below.
- You must have a medical relationship with the medical team responsible for your anesthesia-related injury.
- You must be able to prove that your anesthesiologist or doctor acted negligently or incompetently. Be prepared to demonstrate that you would have received a higher quality of care from a similarly credentialed professional.
- You must be able to link the anesthesia mistake to your injuries. If mistakes occurred that didn’t result in injuries or harm, you may be unable to file a malpractice claim.
- You must be able to document the damages you suffered as a result of the error.
Our firm helps you collect sufficient evidence to prove negligence and causation so you can collect the damages you suffered.
Oxygen Deprivation, Asphyxia, and Other Consequences of Anesthesia Errors
When an anesthesiologist makes an error in the dosage or monitoring process, the result can be disabling. In some very rare cases, patients may experience asphyxia from an anesthesia error. Asphyxia refers to the condition characterized by deprivation of oxygen.
Asphyxia is as bad as it sounds – when the body is deprived of oxygen, especially for a prolonged period of time (as may be the case during surgery), the body can suffer severe damage. Asphyxia can result in a coma, severe and permanent brain damage, and even death. The longer it lasts, the more likely it will cause permanent damage or death. Approximately seven patients in every one million die as a result of an anesthesia error according to a 2011 report in the German medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt.
What’s more, some patients may suffer cognitive impairment as a result of oxygen deprivation during surgery. The following are just some of the cognitive symptoms patients may experience.
- Trouble reasoning
- Trouble learning new things
- Difficulty focusing
- Memory loss
Age plays a large role in how the cognitive disability caused by the anesthesia error affects the patient. Younger patients may require special education assistance at school, for example, while diminished earning capability may be among the most immediate effects in adults. Of course, reduced earning capacity can be a long-term effect even when children are affected.
Patients may require a caregiver if they can no longer perform certain daily functions as a result of injuries stemming from oxygen deprivation. All of this can lead to a great financial burden for the patient and his family.
Patients affected by oxygen deprivation during surgery can address these damages in a legal claim. Claimants can recover compensation for these damages, as well as any medical treatment required now or in the future.
Seeking Legal Advice when an Anesthesia Error Causes Serious or Fatal Injuries
Not all complications from anesthesia are the result of an anesthesia error or medical malpractice. It can be difficult to prove that an anesthesiologist or another healthcare provider failed to act in a reasonable manner. To discuss your rights to pursue compensation, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. Our clients discuss their cases with attorneys who can explain their rights and review the circumstances to discuss how to best approach each one.
Call 800-550-0000 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.