In the United States, over three percent of medical malpractice cases are related to anesthesia alone. Because anesthesia assumes so much control over a patient’s body, severe injuries – and even death – can result from improper anesthesia administration and management. Following is an breakdown of the different types of anesthesia injuries that can occur, as well as the complications these injuries can lead to.
Anesthesia Is Not Just for Operating Rooms
While most people associate anesthesia with the operating room, patients receive anesthetics in a variety of settings including:
- Dental offices
- Medical spas and cosmetic clinics
- Procedure rooms at doctor’s offices
- Labor and delivery
- Surgical clinics
Many avoidable mistakes happen because a trained anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist is absent for an outpatient procedure. Even in hospitals, anesthesia administration remains a dangerous event that requires the full attention and care of a qualified anesthesia team.
Anesthesia Malpractice Causes Severe Injuries
When anesthesia administration is mismanaged, severe injuries can occur, such as:
- Being awake and in pain
- Injuries to the throat or esophagus (from intubation)
- Dangerous reactions to the anesthetic drugs
- Collapsed lung
- Brain damage
It is the job of the anesthesia team to properly prepare each patient for the procedure or surgery, find out which medications the patient is taking, and anticipate any adverse reactions.
Local, Regional, and General Anesthesia Complications
Depending on whether anesthesia is local, regional, or general, different complications can occur.
Local anesthesia complications
Local anesthesia is used only on a specific part of the body, which allows the patient to remain alert during the procedure. Complications from local anesthesia arise when the medication is injected in high doses and becomes absorbed by the body. When this occurs, it may drastically affect the patient’s breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, and other body functions, putting the patient at risk.
Regional anesthesia complications
Regional anesthesia is used to block feeling in a particular region of the patient’s body. Epidurals used in childbirth, as well as for back pain, are the most common types of regional anesthesia. Because the anesthetic for regional anesthesia is injected close to the nerve or the spine, nerve damage can occur. This complication often causes continuous numbness, weakness, pain, and even paralysis.
General anesthesia complications
General anesthesia is used to block sensation in the entire body by ensuring the patient is heavily sedated and unconscious. Because the patient is not able to swallow, cough, or gag, they are at risk for a serious complication called aspiration, which occurs when an object is inhaled into the respiratory tract. Other serious complications include:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Changes in heart rate
- Heart attack
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C.
Anesthesia administration leaves no room for negligence. When a person is sedated and is not properly monitored and managed, the results can be devastating. If you or someone you love has been injured or suffered due to anesthesia, we can help. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C., we have a great deal of experience working with medical malpractice claims, and can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Please call us at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!