What Is an Anesthesia Mistake?

Anesthesia refers to the medications that put you in a sleep-like state before surgery or other medical procedure. Under general anesthesia, you should not feel pain because you’re completely unconscious. However, when errors take place, these powerful drugs can cause tremendous harm.

According to the National Institutes of Health, human error causes most anesthesia injuries, along with equipment failure or improper use of equipment. An anesthesia error becomes malpractice when a trained healthcare provider does not meet the accepted standards of care or acts negligently.

Common Anesthesia Mistakes

Most anesthesia mistakes occur during surgery, but they can also happen before and after a procedure. Any deviation from accepted healthcare standards at any time during the anesthesia process could be medical malpractice.

Pre-Operation Anesthesia Mistakes

An anesthesiologist, doctor, or nurse who fails to prepare and inform a patient for surgery could be found negligent.

  • Failure to review the patient’s medical history for possible complications or side effects.
  • Failure to provide clear instructions, including guidelines for medication, eating, or drinking before surgery.
  • Failure to advise the patient about the risks of anesthesia.
  • Failure to check condition and functionality of equipment before use.

Anesthesia Mistakes During Surgery

Many anesthesia mistakes occur during surgery, including:

  • Administering too much or too little anesthesia given the type and length of operation.
  • Administering the incorrect anesthesia for the surgery.
  • Failure to monitor vital signs, including proper oxygen levels.
  • Inserting intubation tube incorrectly.
  • Failure to identify complications.
  • Failure to use equipment properly.

Post-Surgery Anesthesia Errors

Proper anesthesia care also applies after the surgery. Post-operative anesthesia mistakes include:

  • Failure to monitor the patient during recovery.
  • Allowing the patient to remain sedated for too long.
  • Failure to give patient post-operative instructions, such as to avoid driving or strenuous activity.

Anesthesia Injuries & Complications

When negligence occurs, patients may suffer severe and sustained injury or complications. These injuries include heart attack, stroke, allergic reaction, and blood clots. Improperly intubated patients may have broken or missing teeth and jaw injuries.

Anesthesia-Related Brain Damage

The brain requires a proper level of oxygenated blood, or else brain cells die. Cell death in the brain causes permanent physical, cognitive, and emotional injury.

Brain Damage Causes Involving Anesthesia

  • Insufficient levels of oxygenated blood in the brain.
  • Hypoxia when the patient vomits and inhales the vomit into the lungs.
  • Improper intubation when the breathing tube blocks the airways.

Wrongful Death

Patients who suffer sustained oxygen loss, stroke, heart attack, or another type of injury from anesthesia mistakes can and do pass away from their injuries. Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death claim when a patient dies because of a preventable anesthesia error.

Anesthesia Malpractice: Proving Negligence

Believing that a medical professional acted negligently is not enough to pursue compensation in a malpractice claim. You must have evidence. Although the specifics in each case differ, several factors must exist before the insurance company, or a court will consider compensation:

  • An accepted level of patient care exists.
  • Medical professionals are negligent when they fail to uphold these accepted standards.
  • The negligence in question caused harm to the patient.
  • The patient suffered economic and emotional damages as a result.

Evidence in an Anesthesia Mistake Case

An experienced anesthesia mistake lawyer with Atlee Hall has the knowledge and resources to obtain evidence against a negligent medical caregiver.

It usually takes a thorough investigation from an experienced malpractice lawyer to gather evidence that an anesthesia mistake occurred and identify any negligent medical caregivers.

Some examples of evidence used to establish liability in anesthesia cases include:

  • Testimony from medical experts with similar training and experience.
  • Medical test results.
  • Witness statements from the surgical and recovery team.

Who’s Liable for an Anesthesia Mistake

It is not only an anesthesiologist who may be liable for your injuries and damages. Other responsible parties might include the nurse anesthetist, surgical team, and post-operative team. You could pursue compensation from all parties who caused or contributed to your injuries.

Compensation for Anesthesia Mistakes

When you suffer injury or lose a loved one due to anesthesia negligence, the consequences are often permanent and far-reaching. You deserve compensation for all the ways that your life is affected, including:

  • Medical care and treatment (now and in the future)
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Wrongful death

Contact an Anesthesia Mistake Lawyer for Help

Anesthesia errors happen more frequently than you think. If you or a loved one suffered because of a preventable anesthesia error, get help and guidance from the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Atlee Hall.

We have been working with victims of medical malpractice for years. We know how to identify anesthesia mistakes and what to do about them. Let our experienced attorneys investigate, collect evidence to prove negligence, retain experts when necessary, and fight for everything you are entitled to by law.

Call Atlee Hall at (717) 393-9596 or use our online form for a free, no-risk consultation.