Anesthesia has unquestionably revolutionized medicine. Surgeries performed in modern hospitals today would not have been possible just a century ago. The ability to gently and safely render a patient unconscious and unaware of pain is something doctors in past generations could only dream of. Generally, anesthesia is very safe. In one study, researchers reported 2,211 deaths within a 6-year period, which translates to 8.2 anesthesia-related deaths per million people.
While anesthesia is usually safe, when things go badly, they tend to go very badly. Although the odds of a fatal anesthesia error are quite low, deaths still happen. In some non-fatal cases, a patient is injured so badly, he or she suffers severe brain damage or other serious health complications. These cases don’t get recorded as deaths but they can be just as devastating, as the patient may be unable to function in any capacity. When this happens, call a Nationwide anesthesia error law firm.
In any surgery, the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist has the responsibility to monitor the patient’s vitals, breathing function, and pain responses throughout the procedure. Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists are also responsible for administering the powerful drugs that make a patient unable to perceive pain. Anesthesia ranges from twilight sleep, which is very mild, to general anesthesia, which is a complete loss of consciousness.
At LawMD, our lawyers help victims of anesthesia mistakes and their families pursue the compensation they need to heal, recover, and move on after a serious medical catastrophe or fatality. Because many of our lawyers are also doctors, we have a deep knowledge of medical malpractice cases. When we analyze your case, we can use a combination of medical and legal knowledge to identify powerful proof to back up your claim. No matter what kinds of challenges you’re facing, we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Anesthesia mistakes can be caused by a number of factors. In most anesthesia error cases, a patient is given an overdose of anesthetic medication. In other cases, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist gives a patient a dangerous combination of drugs that results in a serious drug interaction. Anesthesiologists and their nurse counterparts can also cause death or injury when they overcorrect a patient’s adverse medical event during a surgery, such as breathing difficulties or a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
Patients have also died when an anesthesiologist or other medical professional inserted an endotracheal (breathing) tube into the esophagus instead of the windpipe.
The safest place to undergo anesthesia is in a hospital. However, money-saving measures in the health care industry have forced many surgeries into outpatient surgery centers. There are certainly many capable, safe, and well-staffed outpatient surgery centers in this country, but not all of them are equipped to handle emergencies or complex surgeries.
In other cases, a patient dies or suffers a severe brain injury during a procedure in a dentist’s office. There have been many devastating cases of children and young adults suffering cardiac arrest while under heavy sedation or general anesthesia in a dentist’s office.
Anesthesia errors can also occur during non-surgical procedures. Tragic cases like the anesthesia-related death of comedian Joan Rivers during a routine endoscopy shine an important spotlight on the risks of anesthesia. Just because a medical procedure is low-risk or common does not mean it is entirely without risk. A doctor’s error or an anesthesiologist’s mistake can mean the difference between life and death.