Frequently Asked Questions About Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia includes a variety of drugs used during surgeries and other medical and dental procedures to keep patients from feeling pain. In some cases, this requires a drug that induces unconsciousness, while other procedures may need only localized numbing.
Anesthesiologists, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have years of training to provide a high standard of care. These professionals must be held accountable when they make mistakes that harm patients due to incompetence or carelessness.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding medical mistakes involving anesthesia:
How Common Are Anesthesia Errors?
Researchers at a prestigious hospital recently reported that nearly half of all surgeries contained medication errors, including administering anesthesia. These mistakes led to life-threatening conditions for some patients, an elevated risk of infection for others or a problematic change in patients’ vital signs. More than one-third of these incidents led to harm for patients.
A complicating factor in answering this question is that no systemic studies have focused solely on anesthesia errors. However, some general studies say medical errors, as a whole, kill as many as 250,000 people in the U.S. each year, making it the third-leading cause of death for Americans, behind cancer and heart disease.
What Common Mistakes Do Anesthesiologists Make, And What Are The Potential Consequences?
The role of an anesthesiologist is critical during medical procedures. This individual must have the proper training to administer drugs, monitor vital signs and provide the patient with oxygen. These common mistakes can result in severe consequences:
- Dosage errors: Giving the patient too little or too much anesthetic. An overdose can lead to brain damage and coma. Too little can lead to a patient suffering or waking up during the procedure.
- Failing to monitor the patient: An anesthesiologist must regulate and monitor the patient’s heart rate, oxygen intake and their consciousness level. Failure on their part can lead to death or serious brain injury.
- Intubation injuries: In order for patients to breathe during surgery, anesthesiologists may have to intubate them to ensure a proper airway. Mistakes can cause serious injuries, including brain damage, cardiovascular failure, neurological problems or trauma to the trachea, larynx, teeth, tongue or lips.
- Anesthesia awareness: This occurs when patients receive an insufficient dosage and become conscious during the procedure. Patients often suffer excruciating pain but are unable to communicate this to the medical team. An estimated 20,000 to 40,000 of these cases are reported each year.
- Communication errors: An anesthesiologist must diligently inform surgeons and other medical professionals of the patient’s vital signs and other factors. Failing to report accurate or timely information can lead to complications, such as heart failure.
What Can Victims Or Family Members Do After An Anesthesia Error Occurs?
Anesthesia errors and other medical mistakes are devastating for victims and their families when they lead to severe medical conditions or the wrongful death of a loved one. Due to the highly complex nature of a medical malpractice claim, it is advisable to contact a firm with vast experience handling these cases.
We focus exclusively on medical malpractice law and are one of the last firms in Texas that still takes on a large volume of cases in the Lone Star State as well as from across the country. The attorneys at Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law have nearly seven decades of combined experience and more than 300 jury trials, fighting for individuals and families who have been victimized by anesthesia mistakes and other medical errors.
During a time when fewer attorneys take on these challenging cases, we make it our priority to help you receive justice and maximum compensation when medical professionals fail to deliver the high standard of care they are required to provide.
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Schedule a free consultation to discuss your options following an anesthesiology error in Texas or anywhere in the U.S. We regularly fly to meet with client, and we can come to you.