Mistakes with anesthesia are a fairly common occurrence during surgery. The far majority is noticed before they cause damage or even occur. Patients rarely, if ever, even know the mistake occurred. Only in cases of death or bodily harm do most patients learn of an error in anesthesia.
Aestheticians are a very important part of the surgery. Unfortunately, however, they are one of the least known persons involved. The surgeons and the nurses are usually introduced and available to the patient for some time prior to the surgery. Not so, the aestheticians, who are often only introduced moments before the procedure. This gives the patient less time to check background experience and credentials.
Patients are also able to select their surgeons from a variety of opinions they have been given by each. The aestheticians are a different story. Most patients do not consider this important role in their surgery.
Mistakes in anesthesia can lead to discomfort, pain, trauma, emotional distress and/or serious physical impairment. Brain damage, post-traumatic stress and even death can occur.
Anesthesia Awareness is a serious issue and grounds for malpractice. This term is used to describe a case with a patient who is awake, aware, seeing, hearing and feeling everything but unable to move or speak. This condition occurs because of the paralyzing drugs used to keep patients safely still during surgery. Often, these drugs counteract with the anesthesia and the patient is unable to tell anyone.
Estimations of between 20 and 30 thousand patients per year suffer this affliction. The effects range from completely awake and aware during surgery to vaguely hazy recollections. This nightmarish experience more often than not causes myriad psychological problems. Nightmares, social problems, insomnia, paranoia, flashbacks and a whole host of issues occur after an incident of anesthesia awareness.
Anesthesia awareness and other anesthesia related issues can be greatly reduced if not avoided completely when the healthcare professionals administer a proper standard of healthcare. There are several issues that can lead to improper standards. Things that will affect the standard include:
Insufficient drug dosage
Unaccustomedness with procedures
Mechanism misuse or malfunction
United States medical malpractice statistics from 2002 show 467 medical malpractice payments were made and $338,190 was the mean medical malpractice payments made due to anesthesia related malpractice.
In 2011, a California jury awarded $2.25 million in an anesthesia malpractice lawsuit filed against an anesthesiologist who allegedly let the plaintiff go too deep under, resulting in a brain injury due to lack of oxygen. The medical center the surgery took place in was also held accountable.
The botched eye surgery at Mazzocco Ambulatory Surgical Center left a California man with an anoxic brain injury, according to the complaint. He charged both the anesthesiologist and the medical center with negligence and won.
Anesthesia issues are serious and even deadly at times. If you have experience an issue with anesthesia during surgery it is your civic duty to call attention to the negligent party and stop it from happening to someone else.
Moseley Collins is an experienced medical malpractice attorney with many anesthesia related cases under his belt. Call today for a consultation on your case and see how our firm can help you.