Can You Receive Compensation for Anesthesia Errors?
Anesthesia is administered during all kinds of medical (and even dental) care in order to keep a patient as calm, safe, and comfortable as possible. It is something that puts you in a state of total unconsciousness or semi-consciousness and it allows procedures that might otherwise cause you great pain or discomfort to be done as quickly and safely as possible, and all in the best conditions.
The job of the anesthesiologist is crucial to any surgical treatment because it is this medically trained expert who is going to administer the drugs needed, monitor and even regulate all of the vital signs and functions (including the administering of oxygen), and more. Sadly, anesthesia errors can and do occur, and you may never even know something has happened. In fact, few patients ever even learn that there was some sort of unexpected event…unless there are negative results.
Learning About Anesthesia Errors
Usually, a patient and/or their family will not even know the name of the anesthesiologist until shortly before the treatment or surgery is done. Few of us actively choose the person who has our life in their hands, and so it can come as a shock that someone less than ideal ended up handling your care (or that of a loved one). This is why it can be utterly astonishing to hear that anesthesia errors and that some serious medical complications are the result.
What are these complications? If you start to learn about anesthesia errors, you see that some of the most well-known or frequently mentioned stories are those when someone perished because of the medical professional’s mistakes. Usually, it is seen by the law as a form of medical malpractice or negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist, and commonly cited anesthesia errors include:
Failure to monitor – All of your vital statistics have to be monitored during any sort of surgery in which anesthesia is used. If the anesthesiologist does not keep track of heart rate, oxygen levels, and more, and an injury occurs, they will be cited for this failure to monitor.
Failure to intubate properly – Intubation is a tricky process and it is not rare to hear of problems during intubation. However, it is crucial that this is done successfully because it is what delivers oxygen into the patient’s body and controls their respiration at safe levels. Any errors or injuries that occur with intubation can block airways, force air where it shouldn’t be, and seriously harm a patient. This too is something viewed as medical malpractice.
Dosage issues – Giving a patient too much or too little can cause a whole host of medical malpractice claims and liabilities. Too much can lead to overly long and dangerous sedation (often leading to coma), and too little can allow a patient to suffer agonizing pain and terror as they wake up during a surgery.
Anesthesia errors also include a failure to communicate problems or errors properly, which might force the physician to make different decisions. When a problem or issue is not communicated clearly, it can lead to serious problems, injuries, and even death of the patient.
What It All Means
So, if you or a loved one suffered injury or loss due to an anesthesia error, you may have a viable legal claim. You should speak first with an attorney to review the facts of the matter and to determine how to prove that malpractice occurred, and who is to blame. These are the keys to winning the compensation deserved, but it is best when done only with the support and knowledge of a medical malpractice attorney.
CMTJustice.com. Michigan Anesthesia Errors. 2015. http://www.cmtjustice.com/Medical-Malpractice/Anesthesia-Errors.shtml