Errors related to anesthesia are a form of medical malpractice when they occur because a medical professional was negligent or committed a preventable mistake. This is when a patient has experienced an unnecessary harm resulting from an error during the administration of anesthesia. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical staff members who administer anesthetic drugs can commit anesthesia errors.
What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a temporary, medically-induced state that causes amnesia, inability to feel pain, loss of skeletal muscle reflexes, loss of responsiveness, and a decreased stress response. Depending on the effect that is desired, administration of anesthetics could involve one or more types of drugs. Anesthesia is often used before medical procedures, such as surgery. This means that patients will not experience the pain or distress associated with surgery that they would otherwise feel if they were conscious or receptive to sensation.
There are several types of anesthesia, including:
- General Anesthesia – the patient is rendered unconscious.
- Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia – delivered through an injection near the spinal cord.
- Local Anesthesia – used to numb a specific part of the body.
- Regional Anesthesia – used to numb larger areas of the body.
- Dissociative Anesthesia – results in a “trance-like” state of consciousness.
What are the Kinds of Anesthesia Errors that Can Occur?
There are several ways anesthesia errors can occur. They are caused by a number of factors, such as defective equipment, negligence, or incompetence of a medical professional. Should an anesthesia error be caused by a member of the medical staff, the patient or the family of the patient may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Common types of anesthesia errors include:
- Administering too much of an anesthetic drug.
- Anesthesia awareness.
- Administering too little of an anesthetic drug.
- Delay in the delivery of anesthesia.
- Administration of the wrong anesthesia drug.
- Failing to prevent anesthesia interactions.
- Administering anesthetics to a patient with allergies.
- Failing to instruct patients properly prior to anesthesia.
- Failing to administer oxygen during surgery.
- Failing to properly monitor the patient.
- Using defective medical devices and equipment during anesthetic administration.
What are Some Effects of Anesthesia Errors?
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Abnormal pulse
- Brain or organ damage
- Problems with heart function
- Vein, artery, and nerve damage
- Complications with blood pressure
- Birth defects
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Injury to the spinal cord
- Malignant hyperthermia
- Seizures and stroke
However, if you or a loved one has experienced anesthesia awareness, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case. You could be entitled to damages for the suffering you experienced.
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