Anesthesia is the use of drugs to prevent patients from feeling pain during surgery. Now imagine you’ve been anesthetized, you are unconscious, and you can’t feel a thing. But awareness comes and the pain starts – you can feel the surgeon’s knife cutting into you, but you can’t move and you can’t speak. It’s a frightening prospect indeed.
This doesn’t happen often, and usually, the pain is numbed, and the time of awareness is brief. But anesthesia errors do happen. In a recent seven-year period, it occurred over 17,000 times and resulted in 131 deaths.
There are three ways of administering anesthesia, depending on the extent of its effects. These are local, regional, and general (the entire body).
Types of Anesthesia Errors
Some common errors include:
- Nerve damage. Some anesthesia is administered by injection near a nerve or the spinal cord. If care is not exercised, occasionally a nerve may be damaged. This can cause persistent loss of feeling or soreness, pulmonary issues, and infection.
- System toxicity. If not properly dosed, too much local anesthesia can harm the body when the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream. This can affect breathing, blood pressure, and other functions.
- Aspiration. This is when liquid or food gets stuck in the respiratory tract. During general anesthesia, the surgeon may attempt to avoid aspiration by inserting a tube into the mouth and down the trachea (windpipe). Unfortunately, this can cause muscle spasms and increases in blood pressure and heart rate, which are dangerous under anesthesia.
- Delayed administration. Sometimes the anesthesia is delayed. This can happen in emergency situations like a C-section or appendicitis. The anesthesiologist waits too long to administer the medicine, and the surgeon may begin an operation before the patient is fully anesthetized, causing them needless and severe pain. Then, desperate to get the patient unconscious, the anesthesiologist may overcompensate and administer too much medicine. Overdosage can induce a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Serious injury and even death can occur.
- Post-surgery. A patient can wake up from anesthesia and appear fine. But later, after the anesthesiologist has moved on and the patient is recovering, they may start to relax so much that they stop breathing. Inadequate monitoring of the patient may allow this to occur.
Proving Medical Malpractice and Damages
Anesthesiologists may be responsible for your injuries if they fail to exercise a level of care that other anesthesiologists would in similar circumstances. If this failure occurs and results in your injury, you may be entitled to damages. These include out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Your Anesthesia Error Attorney Jacksonville
Anesthesiology is one of medical science’s landmark breakthroughs. It allows patients to undergo surgery without experiencing the pain of the operation. But the anesthesiologist walks a fine line – too much or too little anesthesia administered can cause excruciating pain or death.
If this happened to you or a loved one, you might be able to collect compensation. At The Doctor-Lawyer, we specialize in medical malpractice claims. Our dedicated lawyers are ready to give you stellar service in representing you and helping you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (833) 633-6257 or contact us online.