Anesthesia Overdose

Medical Information Provided By: Dr. Krista Kurtyan, M.D.
Legal Information Provided By: Hartley Hampton, J.D. and Christopher King, J.D.

Explaining the Effects of Propofol & Midazolam (Versed) Mistakes

According to a report presented to the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2014, the most common major anesthesia complication was medication error, which made up 12% of all anesthesia complications. Data from 2010 to 2013 revealed that the death rate was 3 deaths per 10,000 surgeries requiring the use of anesthesia. An earlier report found that 1 out of 13,176 cases were fatal due to anesthesia errors if you included fatalities that occurred within 48 hours after surgery.

The Institute of Medicine has often reported that anesthesia errors only cause 1 or fewer deaths in every 200,000 cases, but independent researchers clearly disagree. Whatever the true figure, it’s possible that their optimism about anesthesia errors is unwarranted.

Even in non-fatal situations, heavy sedation can stop a patient’s breathing—cutting their brain off from oxygen for several minutes. When hypoxemia occurs, permanent brain damage is a potential (perhaps even likely) consequence.

Below, our Houston medical malpractice lawyers take a look at 3 major anesthetic medications with severe overdose consequences.

Propofol Overdose Effects & History

Propofol (also known as Diprvan) is a sedative designed to help patients relax prior and during general anesthesia. It’s also used for patients who require a mechanical ventilator—by slowing the activity of the brain and nervous system, it prevents laryngospasms and other sympathetic (involuntary) movements that would affect intubation.

The effects of propofol or Diprivan overdose can include:

  • Shifts in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Seizures (linked to some patients)
  • Respiratory failure
  • Fatality due to heart arrhythmia
  • Fatality due to hypotension (low blood pressure)

Midazolam Overdose Effects & History

Midazolam is a benzodiazepine, meaning it works by affecting the central nervous system to cause sleepiness, muscle relaxation, and minor amnesia. As a result, doctors use it to reduce anxiety before medical procedures or can be used as an anesthetic to maintain a sedated state. In some cases, midazolam may cause you to lose coordination or muscle strength for 1-2 days after surgery.

The effects of injected midazolam overdose can include:

  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Shallow breathing or respiratory failure
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Ataxia
  • Coma
  • Death

Versed Overdose Effects & History

Versed is the name for midazolam’s oral form. The use of oral midazolam carries the same risk as injected midazolam, albeit with less likelihood of overdose.

The effects of oral midazolam (Versed) overdose can include:

  • Shifts in consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coordination problems
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Respiratory issues
  • Coma

If you or a loved one has experienced any of these symptoms or were severely injured upon waking from surgery, you may have been the victim of anesthesia malpractice. Hampton & King has a full-time doctor and Ph.D. nurse on staff for this very reason—to help you get definitive answers about what happened. Our firm is solely dedicated to medical malpractice to help our clients obtain justice.

Call (713) 489-0993 for your free case consultation. Let us get you answers and review your options today.

Call 713.489.0993 for your free case consultation.
Let us get you answers and review your options today.