Las Vegas Hospital Acquired Infections Lawyer
There are three main types of anesthesia: local, regional and general. Local is the safest and general is the riskiest. When someone contemplates surgery, among the greatest concerns is an error in anesthesia. Most of us have heard stories of someone going in for a relatively simple surgery, such as an appendectomy or a D and C (dilation and curettage), and dying on the operating table or being seriously injured by anesthesia errors.
Controlling the patient’s anesthesia properly is as important as or perhaps more important than doing the surgery correctly. A patient under general anesthesia should always be monitored. The anesthesiologist must closely attend to the patient’s vital signs and blood gas readings.
Types of Mistakes
Some of the following are potential errors that may be made by the anesthesiologist or staff person. If a patient is seriously harmed by any of these mistakes, a case may be made for medical malpractice. These errors include:
- Inattention or failure to always monitor the patient
- Not instructing the patient on when to stop eating or drinking any fluids a certain number of hours before surgery
- Failing to review restrictions with the patient immediately before surgery
- Failing to maintain proper oxygen levels during the surgery
- Giving the patient an anesthetic that causes a serious allergic reaction
- Keeping the patient under anesthesia for too long
- Not keeping the patient under anesthesia long enough or not giving enough anesthesia (this can cause the patient to be awake, feel pain and not be able to move or talk)
- Not recognizing complications when they occur
- Broken equipment
- Errors made during intubation (inserting a tube into the patient’s mouth and down through the windpipe to assist in breathing)
- Encountering interactions between patient’s medication and anesthesia
Some Consequences of Anesthesia Errors
- Brain damage from lack of oxygen
- Trachea (windpipe) damage from improper intubation
- Damage to the heart or vascular system
- Harm to a child being born or birth injuries
- Spinal cord injury because of injection mistakes during delivery of the anesthesia
The job of the anesthesiologist is as critical to the patient’s health as the job of the other members of the surgical team. Mistakes can have serious, even fatal, consequences.