With anesthesia, patients are able to undergo intensive surgeries while being able to sleep through the entire procedure, not feeling a thing. Unfortunately, in rare cases, anesthesia errors may lead to a patient waking up during their surgery. Waking up during surgery can inflict significant emotional and mental trauma on a patient. If you wake up from anesthesia during a surgical procedure, what are your rights to sue for financial recovery for the harm you have endured?
General anesthesia does three things to a patient – it causes them to fall asleep, blocks pain from the surgical incision, and also temporarily paralyzes their muscles so that they don’t inadvertently move and injure themselves during the surgery. When an anesthesia error occurs, a patient may become conscious and aware of their surroundings while still experiencing the pain-blocking and muscle-paralyzing effects of anesthesia. Or a patient may become conscious during surgery while also able to either feel pain from the surgical procedure being performed or able to move their muscles or both. When this occurs, it is a condition known as anesthesia awareness.
Anesthesia awareness can be a psychologically harmful experience for patients when surgical teams don’t immediately realize that a patient has woken up during the surgery. Being aware that an invasive surgical procedure is being performed on you can be a highly emotional and traumatic experience for many people, especially if they are able to feel pain from the surgical site.
Why Patients Wake Up During Surgery
There are many reasons why patients may experience anesthesia awareness during surgery, including:
- Failure to administer a sufficient dosage of anesthesia, which can cause the drugs to wear off during the surgery or may fail to completely render the patient unconscious or completely block pain and paralyze the patient.
- Defective medication delivery equipment or failure to maintain such equipment, which may cause the patient to not get enough of the anesthetic.
- Too little general anesthetic is administered to patients who may be sensitive to anesthesia, particularly older patients or patients with heart problems who can suffer complications from general anesthesia.
- Individual patient resistance to anesthesia, as some patients’ bodies are naturally more resistant to anesthetics or patients may wake up more quickly from anesthesia.
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim If You Wake Up During Your Surgery
If you wake up during your surgery, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a medical malpractice claim when the anesthesia error that led to your anesthesia awareness was caused by the negligence of your anesthesia team. Financial compensation in a medical malpractice claim arising from anesthesia awareness may include:
- Medical bills, if you require additional medical treatment to repair damage that may be caused if you inadvertently move when waking up during your surgery and cause tissue damage at the surgical site.
- Costs of therapy, if you require mental health treatment for the trauma you experienced due to waking up during your surgery.
- Loss of wages or income if you are temporarily or permanently disabled from the emotional and mental effects of waking up during your surgery.
- The physical pain and emotional distress you experienced, and the reduced quality of life from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health impacts you have suffered.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Anesthesia Error Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Haddonfield anesthesia error attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. Call us today at (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 264 Kings Hwy. E., Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.