Omaha Anesthesia Error Attorney
Anesthesiologists hold an important role in the medical field. They are tasked with putting patients undergoing surgical procedures into an unconscious or semi-conscious state using gases, drugs, and other medications, so the patient doesn’t experience the pain of surgery. Anesthesia interrupts nerve signals in the brain and body to prevent you from feeling pain or remembering the surgery. But any small mistake in administering anesthesia can lead to terrifying consequences.
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These medical professionals hold the lives of patients in their hands – they are responsible for keeping patients sedated throughout the procedure, and maintaining their oxygenation and vital signs. Anesthesiologists monitor breathing, heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and fluid levels, among other things.
Unfortunately, anesthesia errors do happen; and sometimes, they have fatal consequences. After an anesthesia error takes place, it’s important to determine who is at fault. Under medical malpractice laws, when a situation like this occurs, the persons or hospital responsible can be held liable for the patient’s suffering and injuries.
Here are some of the most common anesthesia mistakes caused by medical negligence:
- Failure to monitor: Anesthesiologists have a duty to monitor the patient's vital signs as well as oxygenation. Failure to do this can lead to brain injuries and death.
- Failure to intubate: Often times during surgery, anesthesiologists will intubate patients to ensure they are breathing safely. If intubation isn’t done correctly, patients can suffer serious injuries to the trachea or be unable to breathe.
- Errors in dosage: An anesthesiologist must correctly calculate the dosage to sedate every individual patient. Failure to properly calculate can result in too little or too much anesthesia, both of which have grave consequences. Too much anesthesia can lead to coma or brain injury. Too little anesthesia can result in the terrifying state called "anesthesia awareness" where a patient regains a level of consciousness during surgery. During this experience, a patient may be paralyzed and unable to speak, yet aware of what is happening. In some cases, the patient can feel the acute pain of surgery. Anesthesia awareness can be traumatizing physically as well as mentally, and some patients develop post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep problems, and anxiety.
- Failure to prevent adverse drug reactions: It’s an anesthesiologist’s job to recognize and prevent adverse drugs reactions produced by anesthesia when mixed with another medication.
- Failure to prevent allergic reaction: Anesthesiologists should be able to determine if their patient is allergic to any particular form of anesthesia before administering it.
- Failure to prevent complications: Anesthesiologists should be able to recognize and prevent certain medical complications from occurring.
- Communication errors: Anesthesiologists need to be able to communicate with those performing the surgery every step of the way. They are the ones keeping the surgeons aware of the patient's vital signs.
We trust our doctors to do everything in their power to prevent medical errors from occurring. When they act recklessly or absentmindedly, they should be held accountable.
Injuries caused by anesthesia errors depend on the type of mistake the anesthesiologist made and how quickly it was corrected. Here are the most common injuries caused by anesthesia errors:
- Brain damage caused by lack of proper oxygen supply.
- Tracheal damage caused by intubation errors.
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis.
- Cardiovascular injury.
Being in the hospital is a difficult enough experience, and the doctors we trust to care for us should do their best to keep us healthy. However, if they cause or contribute to additional injuries by being negligent, they can and should be held liable for their actions.
If you or your loved one suffered an injury through an anesthesia error, you might want to pursue a medical malpractice claim. You could be entitled to compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, loss of income, emotional suffering, and disability.
To learn more about your rights and options as someone who may have suffered an anesthesia error, contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234. Our Omaha medical malpractice attorney has experience handling complicated claims, and will help you figure out the best course of action for your case. Please call us for a free consultation today.
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