If you have ever undergone surgery or another type of procedure, you’ve most likely had some experience with anesthesia. While it can be an enormous blessing to have anesthesia to help you get through a serious operation, there are some risks involved and anesthesia mistakes that can happen.
An anesthesiologist is a specialist that is trained to administer anesthesia and monitor you throughout your procedure. They review each patient’s history, allergies, and more beforehand and then decide on the best drug combination. Of course, anesthesiologists are human, and anesthesia mistakes are possible. But the anesthesiologist themselves are not the only ones responsible for mistakes. Let’s learn more about anesthesia delivery, potential problems that can happen, and what to do if you become a victim of anesthesia mistakes yourself.
Before Surgery and Informed Consent
Before surgery, patients are commonly anxious and worried. A lot of times, this worry is due to the anesthesia and the complications that could take place with it. Some people think they won’t receive enough medication and will wake up during the procedure. Others worry that they won’t wake up when the procedure is over because of the negative effects of anesthesia. We all hear horror stories and fear that it’s going to happen to us, right? These worries and concerns are understandable, but in truth, these complications are rare.
When you arrive for surgery, you will typically speak with the anesthesiologist, and they will inform you of the risks involved with anesthesia. After you have been informed of these risks, you will have to consent to proceed with the procedure. Patients should only agree to move forward if they have been fully informed of the possible associated risks If you have any questions for the anesthesiologist, be sure to ask them and do not give your consent until you are comfortable.
When you do talk to the anesthesiologist, you’ll find out that most of the side effects from anesthesia include nausea, throwing up, temporary confusion, or sore throat from the breathing tube that is inserted during the procedure. There are possibilities of long-term memory loss, damage to the throat causing breathing problems, and even death. Therefore, informed consent is a must.
Possible Anesthesia Mistakes
Many mistakes with anesthesia occur because of poor communication, insufficient training, or simple negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist. Some unfortunate anesthesia mistakes include:
- Anesthesia dosage errors resulting in over-sedation and under-sedation
- Keeping a patient under dangerously prolonged sedation
- Failure to monitor the patient throughout the procedure
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
- Other negative reactions to the anesthesia drugs
- Airway obstruction
- Incorrect intubation
- Faulty equipment
- Failure to realize complications and respond accordingly
- Brain injury from lack of oxygen during the procedure
Just like other medical malpractice events that occur, the anesthesiologist and sometimes even other medical staff often try to cover up the mistakes that have been made by themselves or their coworkers. It may be hard to uncover what truly took place during your surgery and who is to blame for the mistakes that have happened.
Therefore, hiring a legal team to investigate the happenings before, during, and after your surgery is vital. The legal team at Wormington & Bollinger knows what to look for and has extensive experience going over medical records and interviewing medical professionals to find out the truth of what really happened to cause you harm.
Complications from Anesthesia Mistakes
Depending on the type of anesthesia administered will depend on the complications that can result. Some of the different types of anesthesia and the possible problems associated are:
- Local Anesthesia – As long as the dosage stays in the safe zone, local anesthesia is typically safe and has very few side effects. If a larger dose is administered, the body will absorb it through the bloodstream quickly, and it can cause the patient to experience a quick change in blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.
- Regional Anesthesia – Much like local anesthesia, regional anesthesia is usually safe. It is given through an injection close to a nerve (or several nerves). During this procedure, a nerve could be damaged and feel sore or weak afterward. If too much is given, system toxicity is a concern, and pulmonary issues could also become a problem.
- General Anesthesia – This is the type of anesthesia you probably think about most when you consider anesthesia. With these types of drugs, your natural throat behaviors are slowed (swallowing, coughing). This is one reason why you are asked to fast before having a procedure that requires general anesthesia. If food or liquid comes up, your body doesn’t work to clear it out like it usually would, and you can choke.
Often, a tube used for breathing is inserted down the throat during the use of general anesthesia as well. This can bring on muscle spasms in the throat and bronchial tubes causing a sore throat, damage to your mouth and/or voice box, and hoarseness. You can also experience high blood pressure and a fast heart rate too.
Some more serious problems can include a heart attack and stroke during surgery. These kinds of problems don’t happen on a regular basis. And if they do happen, they are usually due to issues resulting from the surgical procedure itself, not the anesthesia. In addition, pre-existing conditions could cause an adverse reaction in your body during surgery, unrelated to anesthesia.
Suffering from Anesthesia Mistakes
If you or someone you love has been a victim of anesthesia mistakes, Wormington & Bollinger want to help. Our attorney team is well-versed in medical malpractice law and has years of experience standing up to those medical specialists that have been negligent in the care of their patients.
Anesthesia mistakes are serious, and we understand that you have undergone more than your share of pain and suffering, at no fault of your own. Seeking compensation for all that you have been through must take place, and we are ready to make it happen. For more information on how to get started, contact us today.