For a variety of reasons, invasive surgeries often require the use of anesthesia. By using anesthesia, a medical professional can better ensure that a patient doesn't feel pain, remains immobile during the operation and remains unconscious throughout the procedure. The drug's effectiveness lies in its ability to leave a patient in what is essentially a medically induced coma. Despite popular conceptions, the use of anesthesia does not merely put one to sleep.
With such a powerful medical tool comes great responsibility. Doctors must ensure that they take proper precautions and adhere to acceptable practices to avoid negative effects, which can span the spectrum of severity, including death. For this reason, medical professionals have to give considerations to a number of factors. Characteristics such as a patient's body mass index, age, medical history, use of medication, alcohol and drug use and even the length of time since the patient last ate and drank can be crucial to patient safety when it comes to the use of anesthesia.
When a patient is given too much anesthesia, an overdose reaction can occur. This may cause suppression of the brain stem or certain parts of the brain, and can even cause the respiratory and cardiovascular systems to fail. This can result in serious injuries and death. For example, an individual who suffers oxygen deprivation due to respiratory failure can suffer a traumatic brain injury that can affect him or her for the rest of his or her life.
Those who have been injured or lost a loved one to anesthesia errors should consult with a legal advocate who can advise them as to the strength of a potential medical malpractice claim. Those who are able to succeed on these claims can obtain a sense of justice, closure and compensation for their extensive damages.