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Common Anesthesia Errors: Are You At-Risk When Going Under?

By May 31, 2016August 8th, 2018Medical Malpractice

Today, anesthesia is a common practice. In fact, it can be administered as an outpatient procedure at the local physician’s office, dental office, or even during outpatient procedures like colonoscopies. Patients no longer have to be hospitalized, or even observed overnight, when they receive anesthesia. Despite advances in medical technology and the medicines prescribed, there are still an alarming number of errors that can occur during the administration of anesthesia. If you are consenting to a procedure that requires an anesthetic, you may want to go over the risks with your physician and see if there are any special risks associated with your current health that you must be aware of.

Uncovering Errors

Anesthesia errors can occur during surgical procedures, but they are often quickly recognized and corrected; therefore, most patients are unaware that an error ever occurred. Most errors do not result in injury, either. However, there is a high risk for serious, if not fatal, injuries that can occur become of these errors. Anesthesiologists spend very little time with the patient; therefore, they do not have the time to get to know their medical history. If anything is omitted (such as medications that the patient is taking, or other health issues), it can influence the outcome of the procedure.

Most patients do not understand the obligations of the anesthesiologist. In some instances, the surgeon leaves the patient in the anesthesiologist’s care – especially during pre- and postoperative phases.

Which Mistakes Are Common with Anesthesia?

There are some mistakes that are more common than others when anesthesia is administered. These mistakes include:

  1. Failure to intubate, or injuries caused during intubation. An anesthesiologist may have to intubate a patient, because his or her respiratory system will be surpassed during anesthesia. Other times, the patient’s vitals become critical and the anesthesiologist must intubate to save his or her life. When intubation isn’t done as it should or injuries are caused during the procedure, the anesthesiologist could be held liable for those injuries.
  2. Failure to monitor the patient’s vitals. During surgery, it isn’t the surgeon who’s monitoring the patient; it is the anesthesiologist. It is his or her duty to monitor everything from blood pressure and heart rate, to medicine levels and respiratory and oxygen rates.
  3. Errors with the dosage. A dosage error is very common with anesthesia. Sometimes, too much or too little can be administered. When too much is given, it can result in a dangerously prolonged sedation period, which may cause brain injury or lead to a coma. When too little is given, patients may experience unnecessary amounts of pain, or even heart failure.

Were You Injured by a Medical Professional? Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Right Away

If you or a loved one was injured due to a medical error, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law. Our St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys can help hold doctors responsible for their lapse in care, and ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries and suffering. Call us now to schedule a free consultation at 877-678-3400, or fill out our online contact form with your questions.