According to WebMD, the risks associated with anesthesia are fairly low nowadays–as long as you have attentive healthcare providers. When negligent anesthesiologists breach the standard of care, though, the resulting complications are often devastating, and they can even be fatal.
According to Anesthesiology, anesthesia complications are the underlying cause of approximately 34 deaths in the United States annually, and they are a contributing factor of an additional 281 deaths. Anesthesia errors can also cause severe injuries, including brain damage, nerve damage, and paralysis.
If you or someone you love suffered debilitating injuries after undergoing a medical procedure and you think an anesthesia error is to blame, turn to The Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling is a medical malpractice lawyer in New Orleans who will help you pursue the maximum compensation possible for the damages you incurred. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation.
Read on to learn about five of the most common anesthesia-related errors:
1. Failure to Intubate Properly
Endotracheal intubation is a procedure that facilitates breathing by inserting a tube into the airway via the mouth. Anesthesiologists often intubate patients during sedation to help them breathe. If the provider fails to maintain an adequate airway or injures the patient during the intubation procedure, serious complications can arise.
2. Failure to Regulate Vitals
After administering the anesthesia, an anesthesiologist is responsible for monitoring patients and regulating their oxygenation and other vitals in addition to their consciousness. Failure to do so can result in brain damage or death.
3. Failure to Communicate
It is essential that everyone on the surgical team communicates effectively with one another before, during, and after the procedure. This includes anesthesiologists, who must inform the surgeon of the patient’s condition. If the patient’s vitals are in jeopardy and the anesthesiologist fails to inform the surgeon in time, the consequences could be devastating.
4. Too Much Anesthesia
One of the anesthesiologist’s most important duties is determining the right amount of anesthesia to administer. A dosage error that results in too much anesthesia could cause a dangerously long sedation that leads to a coma, brain injury, or death.
5. Too Little Anesthesia
According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers estimate that up to two people in every 10,000 are partially awake while under general anesthesia. Because patients typically receive muscle relaxants before undergoing surgery, those who receive too little anesthesia are unable to move or let doctors know that they are awake and experiencing pain. This is called unintended intraoperative awareness, and it can be a horrifying experience that causes victims to develop conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you or someone you love sustained severe injuries as the result of an anesthesia error, contact The Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling is a brain injury attorney in New Orleans with more than three decades of trial experience.