Anesthesia Errors

Last updated on: September 9, 2013

Anesthesia Errors and Medical Malpractice

When a person undergoes a surgical procedure, there is always risk, not simply from the surgery, but also from the administered anesthesia. An anesthesiologist is responsible for more than administering anesthesia in the operating room. They are also responsible for maintaining and monitoring levels of consciousness throughout the surgery. Anesthesia errors are rare, but they do occur. Anesthesia is a very common use in surgeries today, including major procedures in hospitals to more routine procedures in a doctor’s or dental office. Anesthesia is used to eliminate pain during a medical procedure. This may be used in a particular location or region, or in order to partially or completely sedate a person. About one in every 250,000 anesthesia patients may result in a wrongful death if serious complications occur.

Common causes of anesthesia error during surgeries include:

  • Overdose or underdose of anesthesia
  • Delayed delivery of anesthesia
  • Failure to avoid an allergic reaction
  • Drug interactions complications
  • Failure to properly administer oxygen during surgery
  • Failure to properly monitor the patient
  • Use of defective medical equipment during sedation

Common medical malpractice injuries due to anesthesia error can include:

  • Asphyxia
  • Anesthesia awareness
  • Birth defects
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain damage
  • Cardiovascular Injury
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Heart attack
  • Loss of bodily function
  • Spinal cord injury which can lead to paralysis
  • Stroke

Top 3 reasons for anesthesia errors:

1. Poor communication between staff members. Fatigue, personality conflicts, or the rush to complete surgery often cause the anesthesiologist or technicians to fail to consider all of the anesthesia safety factors including the patient’s age, weight, history with anesthesia, and type of surgery.

2. Improper training, experience, certification. Many technicians do not have the proper background to be administering anesthesia. Unfortunately anesthesia professionals get a lot of “on the job training” in hospitals and emergency rooms. You never know when you could wind up being someone’s practice.

3. Failure to read chart notes or orders. Although someone might have noted your medical conditions, allergies, etc. someone else may not have looked at that notation. You might be given anesthesia that could cause you to have a heart attack or stroke.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a anesthesia error, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys.