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Anesthesia Errors and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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Medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from anesthesia errors are regrettably more common than one might think. Anesthesia errors can lead to severe injuries such as brain damage, permanent disability or even death. If you or someone you know has suffered from an anesthesia-related injury, it is important to understand the common causes, potential injuries, and the importance of seeking prompt legal representation. If you wait too long to sue, you will lose your rights forever.

Anesthesia is a medication administered by a doctor, typically an anesthesiologist, to prevent patients from feeling pain during a medical procedure and/or a surgery. Anesthesia can be administered at different levels ranging from creating numbness to inducing unconsciousness. There are three types of anesthesia: local, regional, and general. Local numbs a specific area, regional numbs a large section of the body, and general anesthesia induces unconsciousness. Most medical malpractice lawsuits occur due to injuries while using general anesthesia.

Common causes of these lawsuits include the following:

  1. Failure to educate the patient
    1. An anesthesiologist is expected to educate a patient of the risks associated with anesthesia and to provide a clear framework of the requirements of the patient in preparation for surgery.
  2. Allergic/Negative reactions
    1. An anesthesiologist is expected to review a patient’s medical records before an operation, and if they fail to do so, they could miss a potential allergic reaction or potential harmful interactions of medications.
  3. Incorrect dosage
    1. Too little of a dosage would allow a patient to wake up during the procedure, causing problems for the surgeons and nurses.
    2. Too much anesthesia could result in a coma or organ damage.
    3. This can also include administering the wrong type of anesthesia, as there are multiple kinds.
  4. Inadequate monitoring
    1. An anesthesiologist’s job is not over once they administer the anesthesia; they are required to constantly monitor the patient throughout the procedure.
    2. Anesthesiologists are required to promptly respond to any complications that arise like a drop in blood pressure or oxygen levels.
  5. Equipment malfunctions
    1. Certain equipment, like oxygen monitoring, is essential while the patient is unconsciousness; if the equipment is turned off negligently or malfunctions, the doctors will not be warned of a problem.
    2. This can also include intubation errors, which means a patient’s breathing tube was placed incorrectly which can lead to a loss of oxygen.

Injuries that Arise from Anesthesia Errors

  1. Injuries due to intubation
    1. Tracheal damage from intubation errors.
    2. This can result in respiratory issues as well.
    3. Brain damage from loss of oxygen.
  2. Anaphylaxis
    1. A severe allergic reaction.
  3. Brain damage
    1. This can occur from lack of oxygen to the brain, which can result from incorrect drug dosages.
    2. This includes cognitive impairs, memory loss, or other life-altering effects.
  4. Permanent disability
    1. This can occur from a spinal cord injury or nerve damage, resulting in paralysis, loss of limb function, or other long-term physical impairment.
  5. Death
    1. In the worst cases, anesthesia errors can be fatal.

The Importance of Prompt Legal Action

If you or someone you know has experienced an anesthesia-related injury, it is imperative to seek legal representation from an experienced medical malpractice attorney for several reasons. First, it is crucial to preserve evidence like medical records and witness statements to begin building a case. Second, there are time constraints, known as the statute of limitations, which can be as little as two years from the date of injury. Third, even if an error seems obvious, it can take up to a year to properly investigate a case and get it prepared for a lawsuit. So the sooner you act the better.

Anesthesia errors can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. It is essential to contact an attorney ASAP to allow them to investigate your case and protect your rights. We have over two decades experience with these cases and would be happy to help you anywhere in Illinois. Contact us any time at 312-346-5320 to speak with a lawyer.