When Anesthesia Errors Cause Injury
Prior to undergoing surgery, we often worry that surgical errors could result in serious injury or death. However, errors in anesthesia administration can often be far more serious and permanent than many surgical errors.
When administering anesthesia, it is important for the anesthesiologist and nurses to follow standard medical procedures and guidelines. Even the smallest act of negligence by the anesthesiologist or a nurse can have dire consequences. Generally, anesthesia injuries are the result of human error, and they can result in death or permanent brain damage.
A variety of anesthesia errors can occur. Patients may be given too much anesthesia, resulting in respiratory or cardiovascular failure. Some patients may experience anesthesia awareness. Anesthesia awareness occurs when a patient is given paralyzing drugs, but is inadvertently left conscious. In this situation, the patient can feel pain and is conscious of all activities in the surgery room, but the patient is unable to move or cry out for help. Other times, anesthesia errors occur due to poor patient positioning during surgery that results in peripheral nerve injuries.
Injuries can also occur when surgical room staff improperly monitors a surgical patient’s vital signs. By failing to monitor a patient, staff may miss signs of distress. Additionally, improper intubation can lead to vocal cord laceration or contusion. Tracheal laceration or rupture can also occur with intubation and can be life-threatening.
Prior to surgery, patients must be warned of the dangers of eating or drinking within a set number of hours before anesthesia is administered. If a patient does not receive preoperative instruction, or if the patient fails to follow instructions without the knowledge of a nurse or physician, the results can be deadly. Drug interactions and allergic reactions to anesthesia can also be very dangerous. Surgical staff members are responsible for making sure that a patient is not taking any prescription drugs that would interfere with the anesthesia. Additionally, allergic reaction to anesthesia can cause anaphylaxis and can be fatal.
If you have sustained an injury due to anesthesia error, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at The McClelland Law Group can help you recover the compensation you deserve.