Denver Anesthesia Error Attorneys
Injured by Anesthesia? Talk to Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Before undergoing major surgery, patients are anesthetized to avoid feeling pain. Anesthesia typically induces unconsciousness, muscle relaxation, loss of memory, and prevents pain signals from reaching the brain. Anesthesia is a crucial part of successful modern medicine.
However, major complications can develop from the use of anesthesia, and in worst-case scenarios, it has led to death. If an anesthesiologist doesn’t provide competent care, and their negligence results in injuries, as a patient you have every right to hold them accountable for your pain and suffering.
If you’ve experienced an anesthesia error, you might be confused about who’s responsible. Is it the hospital, the surgeon, the staff, or just the anesthesiologist? These are valid questions, and we have the medical experts who can provide you with the answers. Call our experienced Denver medical malpractice lawyers at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. at (877) 433-3906 for a no-cost consultation.
Types of Anesthesia
An anesthesiologist should recommend the best course for a patient on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of procedure, the age and health of the patient, and the patient’s preferences. For example, if a surgery will take a long time or affect your breathing, general anesthesia is recommended.
There are different types of anesthesia administered to patients, depending on the severity of the procedure:
- General anesthesia: The most extensive type of anesthesia. It puts the patient into an unconscious state and suppresses the central nervous system, resulting in a complete lack of sensation.
- Regional anesthesia: Also called local anesthesia, this form of anesthesia is reserved for isolated parts of the body. With regional anesthesia, the patient can remain conscious, or it can be used along with general anesthesia.
- Sedation: A reduced form of general anesthesia. It suppresses the central nervous system but doesn’t put the patient into an unconscious state.
How Do Anesthesia Errors Happen?
Anesthesia errors most often occur due to a lack of oversight and disorganization. Different medical professionals may use different methods to measure the amount of anesthesia administered to each patient. To combat this problem, many hospitals are reexamining safety protocols, making improvements in medical technology, and changing the overall process used when administering anesthesia. But it is not enough.
Here are the most common anesthesia errors that take place:
- Wrong dosage; either too little or too much anesthesia. Too much can lead to death, brain damage, or other organ damage; too little can lead to the patient feeling pain or regaining awareness on the operating table (called "anesthesia awareness"). Patients who do wake up during surgery may interfere with surgery or suffer psychological trauma afterward.
- Failure to monitor the patient while under anesthesia. For example, a person under general anesthesia cannot shift a body part that is in a bad position, so it is up to the medical team to use proper surgical positioning to keep the patient from suffering nerve damage. The anesthesiologist specifically must continuously monitor the patient’s breathing, circulation, and other vital functions during surgery to make sure the patient is not in danger.
- Failure to notice allergic reaction. An anesthesiologist must be aware of a patient’s medical history, ensuring that the patient are not allergic to any of the drugs they might administer. If you are, your system can go into shock, causing organ damage or death unless treated immediately. Even then, you might have lifelong internal damage.
- Defective equipment. Gas delivery is vitally important during surgery. Any faults with endotracheal tubes, the oxygen concentration, the volume of anesthetic vapors and gases, or pressures in the breathing or ventilation system can cause injury or death to a patient quickly.
- Miscommunications between medical staff: Poor communication between your anesthesiologist and other medical professionals may lead to errors. Each staff member involved with your surgery should have clear and concise instructions.
- Accidental administration of residual anesthetics: Stopcocks are the devices used to direct the flow of fluid from an IV drip; they are valves and other types of switches. If not cleaned and monitored, built-up residue in the stopcocks can be administered to a patient, causing infection or overdose.
- Insufficient management of pain after surgery: Pain medication must be administered to a patient after surgery in a way that does not cause adverse side effects with the anesthesia.
- Uncontrolled IV flow: The flow of anesthesia from the IV must be carefully monitored, since too much flow may cause health problems, while too little may be an insufficient dose for the patient.
Consequences of Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia injuries can vary from mild to severe. The injuries depend on the error and can affect anything from the heart to the brain as well as other organs. They include:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Anesthesia awareness
Patients with anesthesia allergies could suffer brain damage, organ failure, or even wrongful death. Milder cases may include instances of blurred vision, fatigue, and confusion, and other symptoms. Because any anesthesia negligence will happen behind the closed doors of the operating room, families are often kept unaware of the true cause of a loved one’s "bad turn" during surgery or afterward. That’s why it is essential to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to find the truth of any injury incurred during an operation. If anesthesia errors were made, we can spot them, and work to get you compensation.
Who Is Liable for an Anesthesia Error?
Different parties may be liable in an anesthesia error claim, depending on the details of the specific case. Failing to accurately record the information conveyed by a patient, and failing to communicate this information to the other staff members, can result in anesthesia errors and resulting injuries.
Numerous individuals must communicate when prepping someone for surgery, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other members of the hospital staff, each of whom could be partly liable in the event of an anesthesia injury.
Contact a Skilled Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Anesthesia is an essential part of surgery, but you shouldn’t have to suffer lifelong injuries due to errors made by an anesthesiologist or other medical provider. If you experienced an injury due to an anesthesia error, you deserve compensation. No one should be put under financial strain because of a hospital’s error. These complications can lead to sky-high medical bills, lost wages, and other types of losses. We will negotiate on your behalf to get you the justice you deserve.
If you or someone you know may have been injured due to an anesthesia error, give Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. a call. We have the necessary medical experts who can determine whether your injury was caused by negligence. Our experienced Denver anesthesia error attorneys can help get you the most compensation possible. Call us at (877) 433-3906 for a no-charge initial consultation.
- Allergic Reactions: The Secret Danger Of Anesthesia
- Anesthesia - MedlinePlus
- Anesthesia - National Institute of General Medical Sciences
- Anesthesia Awareness (Waking Up) During Surgery
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