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Bad Medicine: Deadly Anesthesia Mistakes

Bad Medicine: Deadly Anesthesia Mistakes

For many people, the idea of surgery is intimidating and scary. Patients are vulnerable during surgical procedures. They entrust their health and safety to the surgeons and other medical professionals. Regrettably, some doctors betray this trust. If you have suffered an anesthesia-related injury, it is critical to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is Anesthesia?

Anesthesia plays a vital role in the operating room. It prevents patients from feeling pain and can even dull memories of trauma and severe pain. Without anesthesia, many modern surgical procedures could not be performed. The National Institutes of Healthreports that doctors use general anesthesia to perform surgery on 60,000 people in the U.S. each day.
It may be hard to believe, but anesthesia as we know it today has only existed for a little over a century. Before 1846, doctors relied mostly on alcohol and opium as pain relievers during surgery.

Anesthesia can be grouped into three types: local, regional, and general. Local anesthesia is most often used to dull pain on the skin’s surface or in a small area, such as during a dental procedure.

Regional anesthesia dulls pain in a large area of the body without producing unconsciousness. Doctors often use regional anesthesia for specific types of surgery, such as cesarean section and certain kinds of knee surgeries.

Finally, general anesthesia dulls pain and renders a patient completely unconscious. It is the strongest form of anesthesia.

Anesthesia has revolutionized surgery, but it not entirely risk-free. Anesthesia mistakes, which are a type of medical negligence, happen when a doctor, nurse anesthetist, or other medical professional acts negligently, causing a patient to suffer an injury or death.

Recently, a man in the Chicago area filed a lawsuit against an anesthesiologist and a hospital after the anesthesiologist treating his fiancé during surgery allegedly placed her breathing tube in her throat instead of her airway. Known as “esophageal intubation,” the mistake took the young woman’s life.

What Are Anesthesia Errors?

Anesthesia negligence can occur in several ways. Many anesthesia errors are caused by defective operating room equipment. In other cases, a doctor’s negligent actions cause a patient to experience harm. Common anesthesia mistakes include:

  • Administering too much anesthesia medication
  • Administering too little anesthesia medication – something called “anesthesia awareness”
  • Mistakes in intubation
  • Delaying the administration of anesthesia medication, which can cause a patient to
  • Experience sensation and pain
  • Drug interactions
  • Failure to check for drug allergies
  • Failure to give a patient proper pre- or post-operative instructions

What Happens When A Doctor Is Negligent With Anesthesia?

Anesthesia errors can lead to serious complications. In the most catastrophic cases, an anesthesia error causes death or coma. Other health problems include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Arrhythmia and other heart problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Asphyxia
  • Hypoxia
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Birth injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Blood clots
  • Strokes