When patients undergo surgery, they often need general anesthesia. However, a lot can go wrong during surgery and with anesthesia in particular. Each year, many patients are injured because of anesthesia errors. If you think you have fallen victim, you need to meet with an experienced medical negligence attorney.
Types of Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia errors have many causes, but at root, most are the result of medical negligence. As patients, we expect medical professionals, including anesthesiologists, to use appropriate care when treating us. However, errors can occur in the following ways:
- Dosage error. An anesthesiologist can give too much or too little anesthesia.
- Intubation injury. Sometimes, an anesthesiologist intubates a patient during surgery to help them breathe. A careless anesthesiologist can injure a patient during this process.
- Delayed delivery. IV errors and leakage can delay the delivery of anesthesia, causing patients to feel pain.
- Failure to monitor. An anesthesiologist should notice signs of distress during surgery and take corrective action. Due to carelessness, many injuries result from inadequate monitoring.
- Prolonged sedation. A patient can suffer injury if unnecessarily sedated for too long of a time.
- Failure to diagnose complications. Because of negligence, an anesthesiologist might not identify any complications from the surgery.
These are only some of the common causes of anesthesia errors. If you believe you suffered injury in surgery, and you think anesthesia might be to blame, then you should meet with an experienced Wilmington medical negligence attorney.
Common Anesthesia Injuries
When mistakes happen, innocent patients get injured. They can require thousands of dollars of corrective surgery and rehabilitation. Some patients will never get well.
As a result of an anesthesia error, a patient might suffer any of the following:
- Loss of bodily function
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Cardiovascular injury
- Lung infection
- Tracheal damage
- Birth defects
Another serious injury that deserves special mention is anesthesia awareness. This can occur when a patient is actually conscious for part or all of the surgery and can hear what is going on in the operating room.
Anesthesia awareness often results from an insufficient dose of drugs and is a horrifying experience. Although the patient is conscious, he or she is paralyzed and cannot communicate to the doctors. Some patients also feel pain from the surgery itself (though most do not).
Anesthesia awareness is relatively rare, affecting only one or two out of 1,000 patients. Nevertheless, because over 40 million people receive anesthesia a year, an estimated 40,000 people might experience some degree of awareness, which is an uncomfortably high number.
Contact an Attorney after an Anesthesia Error
At Hodges Coxe Potter & Phillips, we proudly represent patients injured by medical professionals, including anesthesiologists. If you or a loved one has been injured in surgery, we want to hear from you. Our Wilmington medical negligence attorneys can meet with you to discuss what happened and how you have suffered.