Many people fear surgery because they’re afraid they may never wake up. Thanks to advances in medicine, however, anesthesia-related deaths have dropped from 640 patients per million in the 1940s to seven patients per million, according to a study Time magazine cited in August 2011.
Of course, mistakes do happen. For instance, Dr. André Gottschalk said it’s sometimes difficult to gauge how much anesthesia to give a patient who’s overweight.
“In exceptional cases, there may be an allergic reaction to something in the anesthetic, or the insertion of the breathing tube into the windpipe doesn’t work right away,” he said.
Elderly patients with heart problems or high blood pressure are also at risk, but surgeons and anesthetists should be able to get any problem under control. It’s critical that they do so quickly since an anesthesia overdose could cause any number of serious or fatal injuries. In fact, accidental overdose is the most common anesthesia mistake and can cause:
- heart disturbances;
- breathing problems; and
- brain damage.
Brain damage changes a patient’s life in major and often permanent ways, including motor, cognitive and/or personality problems. In extreme situations, patients may slip into a coma and suffer brain death. It also affects families, particularly if the patient is the breadwinner of the household. An experienced trial attorney can help you pursue compensation to pay bills, medical expenses, and rehabilitation. You may also be awarded lost wages.
Questions About an Operating Room Mistake?
Attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have about an injury, a potential claim, or Ohio’s statute of limitations. You may also visit our medical malpractice page to learn about the cases we accept.