Anesthesia, when administered properly, is a modern miracle. It enables patients to undergo simple and complex surgeries without pain and with reduced anxiety. When improperly administered, however, anesthesia errors can ruin lives by causing coma, brain injury, stroke, heart attacks, blindness, nerve damage, paralysis, organ damage, or death.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury under such circumstances, the legal team at Cullan & Cullan can help. Many of our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys also have medical degrees, and therefore have the necessary skills to thoroughly investigate situations involving anesthesia malpractice.
Call us at (816) 253-8606 to protect your rights and safeguard your future. Your consultation is free.
Understanding How Anesthesia Works
Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine involving the relief of pain. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, about 40 million anesthetics are administered each year in the United States. It is the job of the anesthesiologist to determine which form of anesthetic is right for the procedure.
There are three common forms of anesthesia application:
- General anesthetic
- Regional anesthetic
- Local anesthetic
A general anesthetic makes the patient entirely unconscious with no memory of the procedure. A regional anesthetic is typically used during procedures such as labor and delivery where it is helpful to have a specific part of the body entirely numb. A local anesthetic numbs a small area of the body with spray, minor injections, or cream.
Anesthesia & Medical Malpractice
There is very little room for error when it comes to administering anesthesia. Injuries resulting from anesthesia errors may involve:
- Administering too much medication
- Administering the wrong medication
- Improperly intubating the patient
- Failure to take a thorough history from the patient
- Failure to monitor the patient’s vital signs
- Failure to properly inform the patient about eating or drinking before anesthesia
- Using defective or unsanitary equipment
- Failure to have the proper equipment to monitor the patient
- Ignoring alarms monitoring the patient
- Abandoning the patient’s side during surgery or during the post-op period
- Failure to quickly respond to emergency situation
- Failure to respond to anaphylactic shock
- Failure to properly resuscitate a patient
- Failure to provide proper padding or limb protection
- Improper placement of IV or needle
- Failure to prevent or recognize drug interactions
Determining Liability for Anesthesia Errors
Mistakes by anesthesiologists are often made while the patient is unconscious, so it is difficult for the patient to prove the exact sequence of events that occurred. Anesthesia malpractice may involve the patient’s doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, nurse anesthesiologist, or other medical staff member who prepares and administers the anesthetic drugs or who participates in the patient’s post-op recovery.
It can occur in doctor’s offices, dental offices, surgery centers, ambulances, and hospitals. A thorough forensic investigation is necessary to determine exactly what happened. It is important to start that investigation as early after the injury occurred as possible.
Protecting Your Rights
Victims of medical malpractice may seek financial compensation for their considerable losses. This is often a difficult process because medical professionals and their care facilities have it in their best interests to fight allegations of malpractice. Anyone who believes that anesthesia errors were made during their procedure would be well advised to discuss the specifics of his or her case with a Kansas City anesthesia error attorney at Cullan & Cullan.
Call us for a free consultation at (816) 253-8606.