Perhaps one of the greatest discoveries made in the medical field, anesthesia is an indispensable part of any surgical procedure. Anesthesia is an umbrella term for the process of temporarily numbing and relaxing a patient’s body in part or in full through a combination of drugs so that they may be spared the pain of a surgery.
Because anesthesia is dispensed on a per-patient basis, mistakes do tend to happen. In most cases, anesthesia errors are the result of negligence that could easily be prevented. Common factors that lead to these errors are:
· Waiting too long to administer anesthesia
· Giving a patient anesthetic drugs they are allergic to
· Under dosing
· Defective medical devices
· Improper patient instruction
· Lack of anesthesia altogether
According to a study conducted by Columbia University, well over 2,200 patients had died as a result of anesthesia errors in a recent six-year period – that amounts to just over 360 deaths that could have been avoided each year. Errors that can occur from anesthesia errors are:
Anesthesia awareness is what happens when a patient is underdosed. Underdosing can result in a patient being fully aware of the surgical procedure they are currently enduring – a horrific situation that could leave a patient traumatized. Underdosing can also lead to a patient feeling the full pain involved in their medical procedure.
Anesthesia is supposed to be tailor-administered on a case-by-case basis, depending on many factors. It’s disappointing then that a medical professional can provide a much higher dose than a patient actually needs. Overdosing is the most common anesthesia error leading to death and catastrophic injury. In the study above, researchers found that over 45% of the patients in the study died of an overdose.
Creating a comatose state is one of the main functions of anesthesia. But with improper dosing, a patient may remain in the coma for a much longer time than actually intended. There have been various cases in which a patient was overdosed and remained in a coma before ultimately passing away.
Other common complications from anesthesia errors include:
· Heart complications
· Spinal Cord Injury
· Nerve Damage
· Asphyxiation and Breathing Complications
Undergoing surgical procedures can be scary for a patient. Patients put their trust in a medical professional that will carry out the procedure without error. When anesthesia errors occur, the results can be devastating. Nobody should have to live with the consequences of a medical professional’s mistake. If you or a loved one has experienced injury due to an anesthesia error, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Andres and Berger today!