Anesthesia or conscious sedation can be a wonderful thing. It allows patients to undergo surgery or other invasive procedures without experiencing pain or discomfort. It has come a long way since chloroform, ether, and opium but it is still not without risk of harm. Current statistics show that 1 in every 200,000 to 300,000 patients die and others are seriously injured due to anesthesia complications or mistakes.
Three common types of anesthesia include:
- Local anesthesia which is used to numb a small, specific area of the body, such as a tooth.
- Regional anesthesia to numb a larger section of the body. Spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia are examples of regional anesthesia
- General anesthesia that results in unconsciousness and lack of sensation
Anesthesia is not only administered in hospital operating rooms (OR). It is also used in surgical centers, dentist offices, emergency departments, intensive care units, outpatient procedure units, pain clinics, plastic surgery offices, ambulatory surgery facilities (ASF) and short procedure units.
The following are anesthesia mistakes or negligent acts that can happen when a patient is receiving anesthesia:
- Anesthesia dose or medication error resulting in too little or too much anesthesia
- Improper intubation or failure to properly oxygenate the patient leading to hypoxia or a brain injury
- Delay in receiving the medication due to a faulty intravenous (IV) line
- Not monitoring an IV line that could lead to fluid or medication infiltration and compartment syndrome
- A failure to recognize any complications during anesthesia or surgery
- Failure to respond quickly enough to an emergency situation or if the patient becomes unstable
- Traumatic or forceful intubation that could perforate the esophagus
- Placing an epidural in the wrong spot
- A failure to monitor or address unstable vital signs
- Improper padding or limb protection
- Damage to nerves or spinal column
- Give the wrong medication
- Not monitoring the pulse oximetry (pulse ox) to check on proper oxygenation or turning the alarms off.
- Ignoring alarms
- Leaving the head of the bed and leaving patient unattended
- Allowing the oxygen source to come too close to electrical equipment causing a flash fire, sparks or burns
- Defective equipment
- Not having the proper resuscitation equipment in case of a medical emergency
An anesthesia error or anesthesiologist mistake can cause tracheal or esophageal damage, a lack of oxygen to the brain, blindness, stroke, heart attack, damage to a limb, birth injury in a pregnant mother, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, nerve damage, coma or even death.
If you or a family member were injured while undergoing a surgical procedure or receiving anesthesia by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist (CRNA) you may be eligible for compensation. Here at the Philadelphia Beasley medical malpractice law firm we have on staff doctors and nurses who have actually worked in hospitals or centers where anesthesia was administered. To date, our experienced legal and medical teams have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients. Please feel free to contact one of our lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.