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doctor administering Anesthesia to a surgical Patient

Anesthesia Errors & Medical Malpractice

What is Anesthesia? 

Anesthesia involves using medicines—commonly known as anesthetics—to numb certain parts of the body and prevent pain during surgery and other medical procedures. While a doctor, dentist, or nurse may give you an anesthetic, some procedures may require the assistance of an anesthesiologist, who specializes in giving such medicines. 

The following are the different types of anesthesia: 

  • Local anesthesia – Commonly used on a minor procedure—such as stitches on a wound or a tooth being pulled—that numbs a small area of the body while the patient is conscious. 

  • Regional anesthesia – Numbs larger areas of the body like the arm or leg. Patients are either conscious or given a sedative. Regional anesthesia is commonly used for minor surgeries and childbirth. 

  • General anesthesia – Numbs the entire body, making a patient completely unconscious and unable to move. General anesthesia is commonly used for major surgeries, such as brain surgery, heart surgery, back surgery, and organ transplants. 

What are the Potential Complications and Injuries Related to Anesthesia? 

In general, anesthesia is safe. However, there are several risks, especially related to general anesthesia. 

The possible complications and injuries from anesthesia include: 

  • Pain after operation 

  • Delirium or temporary mental confusion 

  • Vomiting and nausea 

  • Serious allergic reaction from anesthesia (i.e., anaphylaxis) 

  • Anesthesia awareness (i.e., regaining consciousness during the procedure) 

  • Nerve injury 

  • Respiratory issues 

  • Blood clots 

  • Pneumonia 

  • Stroke 

  • Brain damage because of lack of oxygen 

  • Heart attack 

  • Death 

What are the Most Common Mistakes When Administrating Anesthesia? 

Anesthesia errors often happen, sometimes with fatal consequences. These errors can take many different forms. 

The following are the most common types of mistakes when administering anesthesia: 

  • Giving either too much or too little dosage of anesthesia 

  • Delaying the administration of anesthesia 

  • Improperly intubating the patient 

  • Failing to recognize adverse reactions and/or developing complications 

  • Failing to properly monitor the patient 

  • Failing to minor the delivery of oxygen to the patient 

  • Accidentally or intentionally turning off the plus oximeter’s alarm 

  • Failing to consider the patient’s medical history before administering anesthesia 

  • Using defective medical devices during anesthesia 

  • Failing to provide patients with proper instructions before administering anesthesia 

How Can I Prove Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Claim Based on an Anesthesia Error? 

When it comes to medical malpractice claims based on anesthesia errors, the defendant is generally a doctor, anesthesiologist, or another healthcare provider. To prove a medical professional was negligent, you must show the court that the defendant failed to exercise the degree of care and skill of the average healthcare provider who practices in that specialty. This is often done by hiring an expert medical witness with similar qualifications and medical background as the defendant. 

Can I Sue the Hospital for an Anesthesia Error? 

A hospital is not legally liable for anesthesia errors if the doctor or anesthesiologist responsible for causing the injury is an independent contractor. However, a hospital can be held liable if the healthcare provider is employed by the hospital, the hospital negligently hired and supervised the medical professional, or the hospital provides defective equipment or failed to maintain and repair devices used for anesthesia. 

If you have been injured due to an anesthesia error in Woodstock, GA, call The Dickinson Law Firm, LLC at (770) 766-7739 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation. Also serving clients in Atlanta and throughout Northern Georgia! 

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