If properly administered, general anesthesia allows a patient to sleep, feel nothing and have no memory of the procedure. Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a large area of the body, such as below the waist under an epidural. Local anesthesia causes numbness where it is applied, such as in the gums or jaw during dental surgery.
In most cases, patients benefit from anesthesia with no problems. But when there are harmful complications related to the administration of anesthesia for any medical procedure, it is proper to find out what mistakes occurred and who should be held responsible. Our St. Louis medical malpractice lawyers know Missouri law, and we know how to get you the compensation you deserve if you have been a victim of negligent medical care.
Common Anesthesia Mistakes
About half of anesthesia errors are drug errors such as:
- Wrong medication
- Allergic reaction
- Harmful drug interactions
Other common anesthesia errors include:
- Delayed delivery
- Defective medical device
- Incorrect injection administration route
- Failure to properly monitor the patient
- Failure to promptly recognize and resolve problems
Complications Due to Anesthesia Errors
Improper dosages of anesthesia or reactions to anesthetics can cause complications ranging from asphyxiation (which can cause brain damage or death) to hypertension, heart attack or stroke.
A patient may experience pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents, meaning stomach content gets into the lungs. This can cause asphyxiation or can result in gastric fluids burning, inflaming and scarring the lungs, which is known as chemical pneumonia.
Surgical patients who have received insufficient doses of anesthesia have reported being conscious during surgery and experiencing pain and psychological trauma from feeling and witnessing the procedure. This living nightmare is such a terrifying worry, that horror movies have been based on this possibility. Make no mistake, it doesn’t only happen in fiction and film, it happens in real life, to real people.
Errors with spinal and epidural anesthesia administered by shots in or around the spine can lead to nerve damage, seizures and infection in addition to other complications. There have even been rare cases of partial or total paralysis due to errors in anesthesia administration.
An experienced St. Louis medical malpractice attorney can work with investigators to determine if anesthesia was properly administered.
Investigating Anesthesia Errors for Malpractice
Anesthesia errors typically involve human error such as inattention, fatigue, lack of familiarity or experience with drugs or equipment or failure to follow procedures. In some cases, the error may involve faulty medical equipment. Neither is excusable.
The attending anesthesiologist, nurses, technicians, pharmacist in charge of anesthesia drugs or vendor that supplied a contaminated or improperly prepared drug are among those who might be held legally responsible for an anesthesia error.
In considering a claim for your anesthesia injury, a medical malpractice attorney would help you gather all relevant medical records and forward them to medical experts for their review.
Usually a member of the surgeon’s staff counsels patients prior to surgery, including instructing them not to eat for 12 hours prior to the procedure and to obtain a medication history. In a case of aspiration or harmful drug interaction, it may be important to look into how this information was provided or if it was communicated to a patient at all.
If the experts who examine the evidence believed a medical malpractice claim could be supported, an attorney would press for full and appropriate compensation. This compensation could include funds for medical expenses, wages lost during recovery and other losses as well as for pain and suffering.
In cases in which an anesthesia error has caused a disability, such as from a stroke, a lawyer would work with experts to develop a life care plan that takes into account all of the future expenses that the injured patient and his or her family would face.
Get Help with your Anesthesiologist Lawsuit
Our attorneys are experienced in investigating anesthesia cases and we are familiar with proper medical procedure. We understand the legal nuances of dealing with malpractice insurance companies. We know how to handle your case to ensure you are given the best chance at a fair legal representation. If you or your loved one has suffered an injury due to a complication from anesthesia, a medical malpractice lawyer from Sansone & Lauber can help. You may be eligible for compensation to assist you with current and future expenses and losses caused by your injury.
We assist clients from all over Missouri and Illinois on a contingency-fee basis. We will investigate your case for free and, if we can pursue a lawsuit, we will not charge you a cent unless we obtain compensation for you. Please contact us today and allow us to get to work on discovering what occurred in your case.
Sources / More Information
- General Anesthesia, Medscape
- Preparing your Patient for Surgery, Medscape
- Anesthesia Risks, WebMD