When a patient undergoes surgery, he or she is placed in an unconscious or semi-conscious state through drugs and medications by an anesthesiologist. These medical professionals are responsible for keeping patients sedated during surgery and at the same time monitoring their vital signs and oxygen levels. Anesthesiologists are also primarily responsible for the patient's care post-surgery. Anesthesia errors, when they occur, can have disastrous consequences.
The experienced New York City medical malpractice attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, represent the rights of those who have suffered severe injuries or adverse health effects as the result of anesthesia errors. We are committed to helping our injured clients receive fair and full compensation for all their injuries, damages, and losses. Please contact us to find out how we can help you.
Victims of anesthesia accidents have the right to pursue financial compensation from the party responsible for their suffering. If you can prove that the doctor acted in a negligent manner and you suffered because of that negligence, you may be able to receive financial compensation. A successful medical malpractice claim can result in support for your medical bills, current and future medical costs including therapy, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If you have lost a loved one due to anesthesia errors, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Patients may suffer from a wide range of injuries and dangerous conditions as a result of mistakes made by an anesthesiologist. Some of the common injuries suffered by patients due to anesthesia errors include:
- Birth defects
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Memory loss
- Spinal injury that can lead to paralysis
- Loss of body function
- Anesthesia awareness
Working as an anesthesiologist requires years of study and training, because any mistakes can be deadly. Common anesthesia errors that result in serious or even fatal injuries include:
- Administering anesthetic to a patient who is allergic to it.
- Failing to give the patient proper instructions to prepare for surgery, such as not drinking or eating before surgery.
- Administering too much or too little anesthetic.
- Delayed anesthetic delivery.
- Failure to intubate or injuries caused during intubation. Anesthesiologists often intubate patients during surgery to help them breathe safely. However, when the anesthesiologist fails to do a good job of intubating the patient, it could cause breathing problems or even airway obstructions, which could prove fatal.
- Failure to monitor a patient after administering anesthetic. In addition to regulating the amount of anesthetic the patient receives, anesthesiologists are also responsible for monitoring a patient's vital signs and oxygen levels. It is the duty of an anesthesiologist to keep the surgeons informed about the patient's condition.
- Using defective medical devices during sedation.
- Inadequate product labeling.
- Failure to administer oxygen during surgery.
Too much anesthesia can result in a coma, brain injury, and even death. Patients who receive too little or delayed anesthesia can actually wake up or feel pain during the surgery. This is a terrifying consequence known as "anesthesia awareness" that can result in long-term psychological and emotional damage. Some victims of under-dosing struggle with sleep disorders, flashbacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorders, and an extreme fear of doctors.
When given to children or infants, anesthesia risks are increased, and it is vital that doctors communicate this with parents. Doctors often tell parents that a procedure is fairly minor without explaining that the child will need to be under general anesthesia, which comes as a surprise on the day of the procedure.
Many of the risks for children under anesthesia are the same as those for adults, but the dangers are greater. The smaller body of a child will react more quickly to anesthesia, so it is important that the anesthesiologist monitor the child very closely and act immediately if any problems occur. For example, children who are not given proper amounts of oxygen can suffer brain damage. Anesthesiologists must know any allergies a child has and plan accordingly to keep the young patient safe during surgery.
As people get older, their bodies are less able to handle stressors placed on them, which include anesthetic. Anesthesiologists need to tailor a plan to each patient during preoperative consultation to keep stress on the patient's body to a minimum. All doctors, including anesthesiologists, need to consider the cognitive state of aged patients and make sure they can actually give informed consent prior to a procedure. Patients suffering from any form of dementia may be limited in what they can understand, so consulting with family members becomes important to minimize risks and keep patients safe.
Patients who have compromised immune systems are particularly at risk when it comes to errors or issues that might arise from anesthesia during a procedure. Their bodies already have difficulty with infections and other physical stressors, and surgery can be incredibly dangerous and destructive. As a result, anesthesiologists should spend more time consulting with these patients and coming up with a proper plan for the procedure, including possible ways to handle complications that might arise during surgery.
Infection is, of course, one of the biggest concerns when a doctor helps a patient with a compromised immune system. It is vital that the anesthesiologist use sterile equipment and make every effort to ensure bacteria and viruses cannot enter the patient's system through an intubation tube or IV line. The trauma of surgery can be very hard on a person who already has a failing immune system, so postoperative steps to keep the patient healthy are vital.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious consequences as the result of anesthesia errors, the experienced New York City medical malpractice attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help evaluate your situation and determine if you have a claim. Our law firm has access to accredited medical experts who are qualified to assess whether healthcare standards were met. Please contact us at (212) 986-7353 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
- Common Injuries Due to Anesthesia Accidents
- Medication Error in Anaesthesia and Critical Care: a Cause for Concern
- General Anesthesia
- Anesthesia - Merck Manuals
NY Anesthesia Error Verdicts & Settlements
$2.05 Million - Medical Malpractice: Wrongful Death | Improper Anesthesia Administration
$600,000 - Medical Malpractice: Anesthesia Error | Negligent Administration of Anesthesia
$500,000 - Medical Malpractice: Anesthesia Error | Anesthesiologist Error