Anesthesia is administered for most surgeries today, whether the procedure is performed in a hospital, an ambulatory surgery center or a doctor’s office. Anesthesiologists must administer medication safely and monitor a patient’s vital signs and level of consciousness during surgery. Any mistake in dosage or type of anesthesia can have serious consequences.
Anesthesiologists and other surgical or medical staff members have a duty to avoid mistakes by not rushing or cutting corners while patients are under the influence of anesthesia in preoperative, surgical, recovery and post-operative settings.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died because of an anesthesia error, you have the legal right to hold the at-fault party or parties accountable. To learn how the anesthesia error medical malpractice lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., can help you, call us today toll free or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Chicago, Waukegan, Cook County, Lake County and across the state of Illinois. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation.
Anesthesia Complications Lead to Patient Injuries
Anesthetics are administered about 40 million times each year. Anesthesiologists participate 90 percent of the time.
When general anesthesia is administered, the patient sleeps and feels nothing and has no memory of the procedure afterward. Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a specific part of the body, such as an epidural used during childbirth to eliminate sensation below the waist. Local anesthesia simply numbs a part of the body, such as a hand or foot.
General anesthesia is usually safe for healthy people, according to PubMed Health website sponsored by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). However, people who abuse alcohol or drugs, smoke, have allergies or who have a history of heart, lung or kidney problems may face a higher risk of problems with general anesthesia.
Regardless of the patient’s health, general anesthesia can cause these complications:
- Heart attack
- Lung infection
- Vocal cord injury
- Trauma to the teeth or tongue
- Temporary mental confusion
- Psychological trauma from waking during surgery.
Spinal and epidural anesthesia, which is administered by shots in or around the spine, can cause these complications:
- Infection in the spine (meningitis or abscess)
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reaction
- Bleeding around the spinal column (hematoma)
- Difficulty urinating
- Drop in blood pressure
- Severe headache.
Human Error, Mechanical Error in Anesthesia Injuries
Anesthesiologists, nurses and other medical professionals involved in surgery must closely monitor the patient’s vital signs before, during and after a procedure, including before and after awaking from general anesthesia during recovery.
Similarly, the anesthesiologist must monitor anesthesiology equipment during surgery and ensure it is dispensing medication and oxygen at proper rates and levels.
A wide-ranging analysis of major errors and equipment failures in anesthesia management that was published in the journal Anesthesiology found that most anesthesia errors are human errors.
Human anesthesia error most often concerns drug administration, anesthesia machine operation, airway management, breathing circuit / ventilation, fluid and electrolyte management, use of IV apparatus and monitoring device(s).
Ways in which medical staff can contribute to critical anesthesia events include:
- Failure to check/monitor
- Inattention or carelessness
- Haste encouraged by situation
- Unfamiliarity with equipment or device
- Unfamiliarity with drug
- Visual restriction
- Inadequate experience
- Inadequate familiarity with anesthesia activities
- Lack of familiarity with surgical procedure
- Lack of sleep/fatigue
- Failure to follow routine
- Failure to follow institutional practice
- Inadequate supervision.
Mechanical failure can also lead to anesthesia errors, injuries and deaths, including problems with equipment such as:
- Breathing circuits
- Monitoring devices
- Anesthesia machines
- Airway devices
The fast-paced environment of an operating room does not excuse medical professionals, technicians or other staff members who do not know or do not follow established procedures, ignore patients, misread monitors or misinterpret symptoms. Such errors may constitute medical negligence or medical malpractice if a patient is harmed.
Contact Our Chicago Anesthesia Error Lawyers Today
An anesthesiology error attorney with experience in medical malpractice claims can help evaluate the circumstances of your or your loved one’s injury. A lawyer will work with accredited medical experts to evaluate whether healthcare standards were met and advise you of your legal options.
If you have concerns about the effects of anesthesia administered to you or a loved one in a hospital or other medical clinic, please contact the Chicago anesthesia error attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us toll free or complete our online form.
We help anesthesia negligence victims throughout Chicago, Waukegan, Lake County, Cook County and across the state of Illinois. Please keep in mind that there are strict deadlines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. So, don’t delay. Get help now.