While most kinds of surgeries and medical procedures require some type of anesthesia, the use of anesthesia will always have some level of risk of complications. When doctors or surgical teams decide to use anesthesia, they need to exercise great care in selecting the type of anesthesia and calculating the dosage, plus monitoring the patient’s condition throughout the procedure to be alert for any signs of distress.
Errors in the administration of anesthesia can result in serious medical issues, including brain damage caused by interruptions to blood and oxygen flow to the brain because of medical distress brought about by an anesthesia error.
Types of Anesthesia and Their Risks
Anesthesia is usually categorized as local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia typically just numbs the part of the body where a procedure is to be performed, while regional anesthesia may block pain and feeling to a much larger area of the body while also producing a disorienting effect for the patient. However, general anesthesia blocks all pain, paralyzes the movement of muscles, and puts the patient to sleep. Due to the heavy effects on the body, general anesthesia carries the highest risk of complications such as brain damage. While general anesthesia is routinely administered without incident, doctors should be educating their patients on the risks of complications such as brain damage from the use of general anesthesia.
Common Causes of Anesthesia Errors
General anesthesia is administered during a surgery or other medical procedure by a specialist physician known as an anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist and their team, which are separate from the surgical team, are responsible for calculating the anesthesia to be used, properly administering the anesthesia, and then monitoring the patient’s overall condition while they are under anesthesia. As a result, any error by an anesthesiologist or their team can lead to brain damage or other complications.
Some of the most common causes of anesthesia errors include:
- Failure to monitor blood and oxygen flow during the patient’s sedation, which may result in brain damage when brain cells fail to receive sufficient oxygen flow and begin to die off.
- Failure to notice or promptly respond to aspiration (breathing in) of vomit during surgery, which may cause a patient to choke and not receive oxygen. Under general anesthesia, the patient’s body may not react with the telltale signs of choking.
- Improper intubation, including failing to properly place the breathing tube, failure to secure the tube such that it becomes dislodged, or prematurely removing the tube before the patient is ready to begin breathing on their own.
- Inadequate monitoring of the patient’s condition post-surgery, particularly where a patient continues to remain under the effects of heavy general anesthesia for several hours following surgery. The patient’s blood and oxygen levels must continue to be closely monitored during this period, and the patient’s alertness and orientation should also be assessed when they wake up from the anesthesia.
What Compensation Can You Get for an Anesthesia Error?
If you have suffered a brain injury due to an anesthesia error, you may be entitled to recover compensation for losses you incur, such as:
- Medical expenses incurred to provide treatment to stabilize a brain injury
- Long-term health and personal care expenses if a brain injury results in permanent disability
- Ongoing and future losses of wages or income
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress from the loss of quality of life caused by permanent impairments
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 Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Mt. Laurel, 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.