Anesthesia makes the practice of modern medicine possible. It prevents patients from feeling pain during medical procedures and surgery. Without it, some of today’s procedures would be impossible. But it is not without risk.
If you or a loved one suffered from an injury resulting from an anesthesia error, please contact an anesthesiologist malpractice lawyer at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen.
Types of Anesthesia
Anesthesia is a type of medication critical for many medical procedures. Anesthesia can include the following types:
- Local anesthesia—used to numb a specific part of the body and generally used in less invasive procedures such as mole removal or dental work;
- Regional anesthesia—numbs a specific subset of nerves comprising a larger area of the body and includes an epidural or nerve block; and
- General anesthesia—renders a patient unconscious during the surgery.
The particular medical procedure dictates the type of anesthesia a patient requires. An anesthesiologist is a healthcare professional that usually administers anesthesia during surgery and other medical procedures. They typically work as a team with doctors, nurses, and other medical team members.
Common Anesthesia Errors
Simple, preventable mistakes can lead to life-altering or fatal consequences for a patient. Solutions that have helped decrease anesthesia errors in hospitals nationwide cause anesthesia errors, too.
Depending on the circumstances, various anesthesia errors may lead to a successful medical malpractice case. Anesthesia errors can occur in the following situations:
- Miscommunication in the surgical room,
- Administering too much or not enough anesthesia,
- Administering the wrong anesthesia drug,
- Delayed delivery of anesthesia,
- Intubation and extubation errors,
- Improper administration of oxygen,
- Keeping the patient under anesthesia for too long,
- Failure to prevent drug interactions with prescription medication,
- Failing to provide the patient with proper instructions,
- Turning off warning alarms on vital equipment, and
- Using defective medical equipment and devices during the administration of anesthesia.
The type of medication, the particular medical mistake, and how the medical professionals respond determine the consequences of dangerous anesthesia errors.
Any anesthesia error could indicate that your anesthesiologist or healthcare professional failed to follow an appropriate standard of care.
Common Anesthesia Complications
Anesthesia puts patients into a temporary state that results in the patient’s inability to feel pain. Depending on the procedure, patients should be immobile, muscles should relax, and, when unconsciousness is required, patients should be unable to remember their experience.
Errors involving anesthesia can occur before, during, or after a procedure. Anesthesia errors include the following:
- Severe brain injury,
- Heart attack,
- Allergic reactions,
- Waking up during the procedure,
- Organ damage,
- Coma, and
Anesthesia complications could have serious physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Even when healthcare professionals provide the best care, anesthesia errors may occur.
Complications caused by anesthesia errors range from minor temporary side effects to death. When an anesthesiologist or other healthcare professional causes those complications through their failure to act reasonably, their problematic actions or inactions could be considered malpractice.
How Do Anesthesia Errors Happen?
Anesthesia errors are a common form of medical error. They come in different forms and may be caused by several factors. These factors can include defective drugs and equipment. However, the primary cause of anesthesia errors is human error.
Surgical rooms are hectic places. Sometimes, anesthesiologists must make decisions quickly. But mistakes aren’t confined to the operating room. For example, when an anesthesiologist isn’t aware of a patient’s medical history or fails to educate the patient on risks, they could be liable for injuries.
A healthcare professional’s incompetence or negligence causes most anesthesia errors. An experienced anesthesia malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case and determine the full extent of damage caused by anesthesia malpractice.
Proving Anesthesia Malpractice
Anesthesiologist error is a subset of medical malpractice. No matter what type of anesthesia error is involved, to prove medical malpractice, a victim must show that the anesthesiologist failed to do what a reasonable anesthesiologist would do under similar circumstances.
An anesthesiologist must provide you with the appropriate standard of care. When a healthcare provider fails to meet the required standard of care, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice case.
How to Prove Anesthesiologist Malpractice
The burden of proof in an anesthesia malpractice case rests with the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleging the substandard care must prove that the anesthesiologist acted negligently and caused the injury.
All anesthesiologist malpractice cases require the plaintiff to prove the following essential elements:
- Duty—The anesthesiologist had an established relationship with the patient;
- Breach of duty—The anesthesiologist failed to use the degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by anesthesiologists;
- Injury—The plaintiff suffered injury; and
- Causation—The breach in the standard of care directly caused the patient’s injury or harm.
Medical malpractice cases are complex. Proving fault typically requires the assistance of an experienced anesthesia malpractice attorney.
How Can an Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyer Help?
You can pursue a personal injury claim for an anesthesia error without an attorney. But it’s not advised. Only an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you understand the legal implications of the facts of your particular case.
Most medical malpractice cases settle out of court. An experienced medical malpractice attorney is familiar with insurance company tactics that seek to keep injured victims from recovering maximum compensation for their injuries.
An experienced anesthesia malpractice attorney can help you:
- Fully investigate the circumstances of your injury;
- Determine, with the help of experts, what caused the injury;
- Determine who is liable for your injuries;
- Deal directly with the insurance company; and
- File any necessary paperwork and adhere to applicable deadlines.
While your attorney vigorously pursues your case, you can focus on treatment and getting your life back on track after an injury.
Contact Our Kansas City Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyers Today
Contact a Kansas City anesthesia malpractice attorney today if an anesthesia error has negatively impacted you or someone you love. At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, we are known for our track record of excellence in anesthesiology malpractice cases.
We have successfully secured multi-million-dollar recoveries for our clients. Our in-house medical specialists help us to thoroughly analyze cases for potential clients to determine the strength of a claim.
Contact us to discuss your case during a free consultation. We cover the costs for experts and litigation and do not take attorney fees unless we secure compensation for your case.