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Anesthesia Errors More Common Than First Thought

Mellino Law Firm

Getting it right the first time with anesthesia is crucial. If the dose is wrong, patients may suffer severe injuries or death.

This is a nightmare that a great number of people suffer from: going into hospital for surgery and either waking up with injuries you never expected, or you don’t wake up at all. Despite the fact that most anesthesiologists are caring, well-meaning and skilled medical professionals, bad things sometimes happen. And when those bad things do happen, it’s time to talk to an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer to find out if you have a case.

Surgery isn’t a group of people getting together to assemble or take apart Lego building blocks. It is intervening in a person’s life to hopefully help them and make them better. While the intentions may be admirable, the execution of the surgery or administration of the anesthesia may not always live up to accepted standards of care.

Prior to any operation, there must be consultation on what is the best and most appropriate method of anesthesia for the patient. In some hospitals, the day before the surgery, the anesthesiologist pays a quick call to the patient in their room and tells them what to expect and asks if they have had any problems with going under before. This is a smart move that may be even smarter if more hospitals practice this highly humanizing component of having patients actually meet the person who will put them under, rather than just being put under by a pair of eyes they have never met.

There are a number of ways anesthesia administration can go awry and they include being under too long, delayed delivery of the anesthetic, administration of an incorrect dose, poor monitoring of the patient while they are out, bad reactions to the anesthetic, complications with intubation, negligent doctors, impaired doctors and communication errors. That’s a lot of things that have the potential to go wrong. It is no wonder people are leery about having surgery. There is an enormous amount of trust placed in professionals like this to do the right thing, do it the right way and do no harm.

If anesthesia has been misused, just what are the consequences? The damage an improper dose can do may range from serious to catastrophic and includes coma, tracheal damage from improper intubation, brain damage (often irreversible), cardiovascular injuries and the final arbiter of those who make deadly errors, death. If any of these situations has happened to you, you need to find out what your rights are and how to proceed by consulting with a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

Unfortunately, the numbers of people harmed as a result of anesthesia errors is far higher than we would like to know about. For instance, these figures, from the National Practitioner Data Bank, show that from 1990 to 2002 alone there were 5,691 med mal payments made as a direct result of anesthesia related accidents. If you do some math, you’ll see that the average median for med mal payments was $245,935. Can this happen to you? Yes, it could. If it does, make an appointment to talk to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer about getting compensation for your injuries. It’s your right.

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