When you’re at the hospital for a surgery, anesthesia is the last thing on your mind.
Today it’s considered a routine procedure and no one gives a lot of thought to it.
There are severe health issues that could occur due to an overdose of anesthetics, or if there’s a failure to monitor the patient during a medical procedure. In some cases, it has resulted in the patient’s death.
Here are some of the rare but serious implication of errors in anesthesia procedures:
- Brain damage
- Asphyxia (stoppage of breathing)
- Broken bones
That brings us to the question of the importance of Anesthesia in modern day medical surgery:
Why is Anesthesia administered?
Before surgery, an anesthetic is used to induce unconsciousness. It helps the patient relax and remain unconscious during the procedure. They generally have no recollection of what went on during the operation. There are other types of anesthesia, which doesn’t require you to be unconscious like a minor procedure.
Types of Anesthesia:
There are three main types of anesthesia:
- Local: Numbs a small area of the body and you remain conscious and alert.
- Regional: Used to block pain in a certain area of the body or organ, such as an arm or a leg. An example would be the epidural administered during childbirth.
- General: This is used to make you unconscious, in case where a major surgery is required.
Anesthetics work by momentarily disrupting the signals sent by the nerves that connect a part of your body to the brain, thus preventing you from realising pain signals. Though when you wake up the pain from the surgical procedure will return.
There are two ways of administering anesthetics. Intravenous injections go directly into your bloodstream and your recovery is faster, or by inhaling a gas.
Can This Seeming Simple Procedure Result in Serious Injuries?
According to a report that examined common reasons for anesthesia malpractice cases at an insurance company between 2007-2012, the most number of injuries reported due to anesthesia are as follows:
Teeth damage – 20.8 %
Death – 18.3 %
Nerve damage – 13.5 %
Organ damage – 12.7 %
Pain – 10.9 %
Cardiopulmonary arrest – 10.7 %
Due to advances in anesthesia technology the injury due to anesthesia claims are down from 74% in the 70’s to 58% in the 90’s… but it’s still not zero.
What Would You Need To Prove In A Medical Malpractice Claim Involving Anesthesia?
It’s very similar to most medical malpractice procedures.
- Duty to care for the patient. The anesthesiologist must have a contract to care for the patient. These generally include meeting the patient, taking history, reviewing the chart, physical examining, and discussing anesthesia options. They should also have an informed consent from the patient for the chosen option.
- Negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist, if he/she failed in their duty r didn’t provide the standard of care. If the defendant is proven to have provided care below the standard of care they could lose the lawsuit.
- You must prove that the negligence was the cause of the injury. You’ll need expert witnesses to back this claim.
- Monetary compensation for the injury of loss.
If you’ve been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved in Pennsylvania, before starting, after, or during a surgical procedure, you should consult Dr. Gleeson.
Injury cases, caused by anesthesia errors are not always apparent. Dr. Gleeson is a board certified surgeon in addition to being an attorney, and will thoroughly evaluate the medical and operative reports for anesthesia error cases before filing a malpractice lawsuit.