Local, regional and general anesthesia are necessary for a variety of medical procedures. Everything from root canals to tattoo removal to major surgery can necessitate that your pain response be dulled or that you be made relaxed, forgetful or sleepy. Unfortunately, any type of anesthesia can be dangerous and, if the medical professionals administering the medications don’t exercise proper care, the consequences could be damaging or even fatal.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an anesthesia error, you have legal rights. You can hold the doctors, hospitals and healthcare institutions who caused your harm responsible for what they have done. Victims can seek recovery for medical costs and lost wages as well as compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress. In the event that an anesthesia error is fatal, surviving family members of the deceased may also consult with an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney to make a wrongful death claim.
The Dangers of Anesthesia Errors
According to WebMD, the risks of anesthesia errors will vary depending upon the type of anesthesia you are administered. For example:
- Local anesthesia involves numbing only a small area of the body, usually by applying the anesthesia directly to the affected area. While risks are more minor, high doses of local anesthesia can enter the whole of your body and can impact your heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing.
- Regional anesthesia methods, including peripheral nerve blocks or epidurals, block pain to a larger part of your body than local anesthesia. Typically you remain awake, although you may also be given medicine to help you sleep or help you relax. The epidural that many women get when in labor is an example of regional anesthesia, and is also called spinal anesthesia. Risks of regional anesthesia include severe headaches as well as drops in blood pressure. Regional anesthesia can also affect your heartbeat and your breathing.
- General anesthesia renders you unconscious and affects the brain and body. General anesthesia is administered through your veins or by breathing in the drugs. You will feel no pain and will generally not remember anything about the surgery. General anesthesia presents the greatest risk. Aspiration (choking) is possible and fluctuations in heart rate or blood pressure can result. Heart attack, stroke and even death may occur when something goes wrong when you are under general anesthesia.
In some cases, your body will react badly to anesthesia simply because of your general state of health. In other instances, however, doctors or healthcare providers may make anesthesia errors that put you in grave danger. For example:
- You may be given an incorrect dose
- The anesthesia may be administered too late, causing you to feel pain during the surgery
- You may not be monitored properly while under anesthesia and complications such as a drop in blood pressure or breathing problems may be missed
- You may be left under anesthesia for an unsafe length of time
- Doctors may not respond properly to anesthesia complications that develop
- You may not be properly informed of what you should do to stay safe, either before or after your procedure (for example, you need to be given instructions about eating before going under anesthesia).
- The equipment used to administer your anesthesia may not work properly
- You may not be intubated when necessary to prevent choking or other anesthesia-related problems.
If these or other errors are made, the consequences can include spinal cord injuries, suffocation, stroke, heart attack, or other complications up to and including death.
A Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help When Anesthesia Errors Occur
Doctors and healthcare providers who use anesthesia must exercise reasonable care both in recommending and administering the anesthesia as well as in watching you for signs of complications. Anesthesiologists, who administer general anesthetic, especially, are expected to be experts in their field. When any doctor falls short and fails to provide a level of care that is reasonable given his training and background, that doctor can be held responsible through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In the case of an anesthesia error or complication, an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can help you to take action to prove that the healthcare professionals who provided your care fell short of what they were supposed to do. An Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can not only help you to prove that malpractice occurred but can also help you to demonstrate the extent of the damages you suffered so you can maximize your recovery of monetary compensation.
Have You Been The Victim Of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or 404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.