Countless surgeries and medical procedures are effectively performed every day thanks to the use of modern anesthesia. Anesthesiologists may use general anesthesia, local anesthesia, regional anesthesia or spinal anesthesia to sedate the patient and control pain. Deciding on the type of anesthesia is a decision for the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
Failing to monitor patients during medical procedures
As opposed to the type of anesthesia used for the medical procedure, most incidents involving patient injury from anesthesia errors are due to the anesthesia staff failing to monitor the patient before, during or after the procedure. Improper ventilation is an example of one are where mistakes are made as respiratory problems are one of the leading causes of death or brain damage during anesthesia procedures.
Uncovering what actually occurred
The type of anesthesia error may not be apparent, based on the type of injury sustained by the patient. The Chicago medical negligence attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers works with some of the leading medical experts to review clients’ medical charts to determine what types of errors were made during the anesthesia process.
There are common issues to look at when reviewing a anesthesia error event. Most severe anesthesia incidents have been attributed to respiratory issues. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) compiles data on closed malpractice claims in an attempt to learn and improve anesthesiology standards. This data shows that respiratory events in death and brain damage cases were the most common, making up 45% of the malpractice claims. Cardiac events followed up in the medical malpractice claim category comprising 25% of claims made.
Possibility of mistakes with anesthesia
Nonetheless, the following conditions have been associated with medication errors and merit further investigation:
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
- Asphyxia (stoppage of breathing)
In a study done at Columbia University examined 2,211 deaths related to anesthesia over a six-year period. There was an average of over 300 deaths per year due to anesthesia or as a contributing factor. The main reasons found for the deaths were as follows:
- 46.6% were due to an overdose of anesthetics
- 42.5% were attributed to adverse affects from anesthetics in therapeutic use
- 3.6% of the deaths occurred during pregnancy and labor
- 7.3% were listed under other complications
Although deaths are fairly rare from anesthesia– it does happen. This study showed that the most common cause of death was an overdose, which may have been an error on the part of the administrating anesthesiologist. Those who do survive an incident where there were complications due to anesthesia may be left with brain damage and other disabling conditions.
Seeking legal representation for anesthesia errors?
If your loved one suffered an unexpected injury or death shortly before, after, or during a surgical procedure, our medical negligence attorneys would honor the opportunity to speak with you and begin the process of getting answers to these difficult questions.
Unlike other type of injury cases, cases involving anesthesia errors may not always be apparent. In fact, medical records and operative reports from most anesthesia error cases must be carefully evaluated before a determination can be made. Whether you have the records or not, our lawyers want to help provide you with the answers that you have.
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