Anesthesia is part of most surgical operations or medical procedures in order to protect the patients from severe pain. Most healthy people don’t have any problems taking anesthesia to reduce or stop the pain. General anesthesia itself is safe for patients suffering from unbearable pain. However, the risk of complications due to medical malpractice rendered by professionals leads to long-term agony, big expenses, and sometimes death.
Common mistakes in the use of anesthesia
Errors in application can happen during childbirth and even in the simplest form of medical procedures, and are not attributed solely to anesthesiologists. Persons administering anesthesia are required to have specialized training, and should be certified.
- Wrong people performing the anesthesia application – Cosmetic surgery, dental visits, and out-patient treatments are common places where anesthesia is applied. In many of these venues, the anesthesiologist is not always present. Administration of anesthesia is performed by surgeons, doctors, nurses, dentists, or other health care practitioners.
- Anesthesia overdose – When the doctor or anesthesiologist fails to prepare adequate amount of drug that is applied to a patient to be effective, injuries can happen due to overdose.
- Negligence to monitor the patient – After giving a drug, a patient should be monitored closely to determine his/her reaction. Failure to obtain a written consent from the patient – In applying anesthesia, the medical staff has the duty to get the approval of the patient or his/her immediate relative in emergency cases.
- Poor maintenance of anesthesia equipment – All equipment that is used for this purpose requires proper handling and regular maintenance by the hospital staff, or the manufacturer’s service personnel. When a piece of equipment is out of good condition due to poor maintenance and lack of regular checkup, this endangers the life of patients.
What is the extent of liability of medical practitioners?
Health care providers who administer anesthesia may be held liable individually for personal injuries suffered by their patients due to their negligence. Even hospitals or medical facilities where the medical malpractice occurred can be liable for the injuries. In fact, the liability may even be extended outside the medical staff.
In most cases, the testimony of the expert will be required in a medical negligence case. This is necessary to establish the amount of standard care given to the victim, breach of such standard of care, possible causes of the breach and damages. When a case of anesthesia malpractice has been established, a claim for compensation should be filed in court within the prescribed period set by the law which varies from state to state.
What are the dangers of anesthesia malpractice?
It can cause devastating consequences to patients such as paralysis, severe brain damage, asphyxia, stroke, heart attack, coma and even death.
In some cases, there are people who still experience unbearable pain in spite of the general anesthesia that they have taken. This is caused by the muscle relaxants given to them prior to surgery. They could not move, speak or make any sign to let others know the tremendous pain they are suffering.
Some people may suffer from long-term psychological problems or post-traumatic stress disorder. This can be caused by lower doses of anesthesia than necessary during the procedure.
The patient can be subject to errors committed by the anesthesiologist like failure to watch his/her conditions, or measuring the amount of anesthesia needed in the patient’s system throughout the treatment procedure.
These are the risks of anesthesia, and if a victim dies, the immediate relatives can file a claim for compensation arising from anesthesia malpractice. This can be done by contacting a personal injury attorney to handle the case.