You may not have heard about it very often, but the truth is, medical lawyers see cases of anesthesia malpractice more than you might realize. So, what exactly is this type of malpractice, and how do you know if you have a claim?
Perhaps we should first understand exactly what anesthesia is. It is a medication administered to a patient to lessen or dull the pain and discomfort of certain medical procedures. It can be applied topically, as with sprays or creams, or administered internally via injections or intravenous tube. The three types of anesthesia regularly used are:
- Local – short for “localized”, in which the medication is used to numb a specific area of the body.
- Regional – applied to an entire section, or “region”, of the body, such as is used to numb the lower body during child birth. This is the most common form of anesthesia.
- General – typically applied during major surgical procedures, the patient is rendered unconscious while under this type of anesthesia and usually ends up with no memory of the procedure.
Any of these three types of anesthesia can result in injury or harm to the patient if the anesthesiologist makes an error. Some of the more common cases of anesthesia malpractice involve:
- Administering incorrect dose (overdose)
- Failure to inform a patient about dietary restrictions before and after the procedure
- Incorrectly intubating a patient
- Failure to monitor a patient’s vital signs
- Using defective or outdated equipment
- Failure to properly assess a patients medical history and consider other medications that could interact negatively with the anesthesia
When any of these things take place, the results can range anywhere from minor complications to significant health issues such as stroke, heart attack, collapsed lung, or brain damage. In extreme cases, anesthesia malpractice can even result in wrongful death. In fact, it is estimated that one in every 200,000 cases results in death.
It is important to keep in mind, though, that anesthesia malpractice can often be more difficult to prove than other forms of negligence. For this reason, you should seek the counsel of an experienced medical lawyer who can review your individual situation and help you determine if you have enough evidence to be successful in your claim.
See Also: Medical Lawyers