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Anesthesia Errors That May Lead to a Medical Malpractice Case

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Anesthesia errors can trigger dangerous or even fatal injuries. You shouldn't suffer preventable anesthesia errors, and if you do, you deserve compensation from the responsible party. The following are some of the anesthesia errors that increase your risk of complications.
Wrong Dosage
General anesthesia is usually safe, but only if the anesthesiologist administers the correct dosage.  A safe dosage amount depends on various factors, such as:
  • The age of the patient
  • The health of the patient
  • The patient's pregnancy status
  • The type of anesthesia
  • Weight of patient
For example, if lidocaine is safe at 4.5 mg per kg of body weight, a patient who weighs 100 kg can safely handle 450 gm of the anesthesia, but the same amount would cause an overdose for a 50 kg patient. Thus, an anesthesiologist who makes an error in the calculations may give you the wrong dosage accidentally.
Failure to Monitor
Once you receive anesthesia, the anesthesiologist should continue to monitor you for the duration of the surgery. Here are some of the specific issues that the anesthesiologist should monitor:
  • The signs and symptoms of complications
  • The oxygen levels in your blood
  • The delivery of oxygen to your body
A failure in any of the above tasks can cause long-term consequences for your health. For example, an anesthesiologist or anyone in the surgery room might turn off the pulse oximeter accidentally. The pulse oximeter monitors the oxygen levels in your blood since low oxygen levels might trigger damage to your vital organs, such as the brain.
Thus, an anesthesiologist who fails to notice when a pulse oximeter is off is liable for the damage you may suffer thereafter if your oxygen level falls and no one notices in time.
Improper Intubation
Intubation involves the insertion of a tube via the mouth into the airway. Your medical team will use the tube to deliver things, such as anesthesia, into your body. The tube also helps you breathe if you are unable to breathe without assistance.
Just like other medical procedures, several things may go wrong during intubation. For example, the tube may damage your teeth or the delicate lining of your respiratory tract. You deserve compensation for any damage that poor intubation might cause, even if the damage doesn't threaten your life.
Poor Patient Evaluation
Your medical team needs to evaluate your medical condition and history. The evaluation will help the team determine safe anesthesia levels, any danger signs to look out for, and even whether you are a suitable anesthesia candidate in the first place.
For example, those who are obese, have high blood pressure, smoke, or have obstructive sleep apnea have a high risk of anesthesia complications. You need an evaluation to identify such risks so that your medical team can take the necessary measures to prevent complications. A lack of or negligent evaluation can easily trigger medical malpractice.
Poor Patient Preparation
Lastly, your anesthesiologist and your entire medical team should prepare you properly for the anesthesia administration. For example, you should know:
  • Whether and for how long you should avoid food
  • The risks associated with anesthesia
  • Whether you should avoid any drugs
The party responsible for your preparation is responsible for the injuries that you may suffer as a result of poor preparation.
Wegner & Associates can help you with all your medical malpractice cases. Note that your anesthesiologist may not be the only person responsible for your injuries; the hospital and other medical professionals may share in the blame. Contact us if you have anesthesia complications. We will review your case and advise you on how to process your medical malpractice case.