Anesthesia Malpractice – Are You A Victim?

Surgeries. They happen every day. All over the world. Heart surgeries. Brain surgeries. Hip surgeries. Eye surgeries. Surgeries to bring life into the world. Surgeries to remove a kidney. And where there’s surgery, there’s anesthesia. While the possible dangerous outcomes of surgery is a real fear of many people, anesthesia malpractice may not cross their mind. Unfortunately, malpractice is common among anesthesiologists – and it can have dangerous and sometimes fatal outcomes.

Have you suffered because of malpractice? Maybe even lost a loved one from the negligence of an anesthesiologist? The team of Hampton & King can help you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us today.

Anesthesiologist about to administer medicaiton for patient's surgery.

An Anesthesia Horror Story 

Mary Milne of Dallas, Texas was the victim of anesthesia malpractice. Unfortunately, she didn’t live long enough to even know. 

In April 2011, Milne went in for an AV Node Ablation. A fairly routine procedure, as far as heart surgeries go. During surgery, she suffered from dangerously low oxygen levels. The anesthesiologist didn’t notice until 15-20 minutes after. Why? He was distracted. He was on his phone – instead of closely monitoring his patient. 

What may have seemed like a quick text, or a quick check-in on social media, turned into a fiasco costing a life. A terrible, and very avoidable case of malpractice. 

To read Mary’s full story, click here. 

The Scoop On Anesthesia

Anesthesia is nothing short of a miraculous medicine. It allows patients to undergo otherwise painful treatments without feeling. But what exactly is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is the medical treatment that blocks off pain, sensation, and the body’s biological response to surgery. This happens by administering anesthetics via injections, inhalations, topical creams, or sprays.

Different Types Of Anesthesia

Local Anesthesia 

Local, for localized. This type of anesthesia numbs only a small part of the body – where the procedure will take place. Local anesthesia is usually used for smaller operations including stitches and tooth extractions. 

Regional Anesthesia

A larger area is numbed as opposed to a small, particular body part. A spinal block, during a C-section, for example, numbs a patient from the hip down. 

General Anesthesia 

This is when a patient is completely unconscious for the entirety of the procedure. 

Anesthesia malpractice can occur no matter the type of administration/locality. However, most cases are associated with general anesthesia

How Anesthesia Malpractice Can Occur 

The example at the beginning of this article showed how distraction led to a malpractice lawsuit. But a doctor busy on their phone during surgery isn’t the only form of anesthesia malpractice. 

In fact, many anesthesia errors occur before a surgical procedure even begins! 

Administering anesthesia isn’t like giving the annual flu shot. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all needle through the vein. A patient’s medical history plays a significant role in the type and amount of anesthesia that is safe. 

Example. Two women of the same age are undergoing hip replacements. There is a significant weight difference between both patients. One patient is also taking low-dosage aspirin, a blood thinner. Heart attacks run in her family. If the anesthesiologist gives both patients the same amount of anesthesia in the same manner, something isn’t right. One or both cases may result in anesthesia malpractice. 

Here are some examples of anesthesia malpractice:

  • Administering the wrong type of anesthesia
  • Errors in anesthesia dosage 
  • Allowing the surgery to begin before the patient is fully sedated/under 
  • Failure to monitor the patient throughout the entire surgery
  • Incorrectly inserting or removing a breathing tube
  • Not providing patients with proper pre/post-op instructions 

The Effects Of Anesthesia Malpractice

Anesthesia comes with several risks. But when used correctly, it can be very safe. Modern medicine has come a long way. However, the unsafe handling and administration of it can lead to

malpractice and a range of complications for the patient. 

Complications of too much anesthesia are organ damage, coma, and death. While complications of too little anesthesia are anesthesia awareness, excessive pain, and PTSD.

Breathing tube complications include:

Inadequate monitoring includes:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure 
  • Heart rate complications 
  • Death
Elderly patient being comforted by wife.

What To Do After Malpractice

If you were the victim of anesthesia malpractice, you probably suffered an unnecessary injury. Perhaps you’re still living with those injuries. Or maybe malpractice took the life of a loved one. In that case, you may even have a case of wrongful death. 

No matter how malpractice affected you or your loved one, you have the right to justice and compensation. Hampton & King can help. Call us to learn your options and discuss your case today.