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Anesthesia Errors & How They Affect Your Surgery & Recovery

Surgery is scary, and when you make a decision to go under the knife, you aren’t just placing your life in the hands of the surgeon.  You’re also trusting the people who provide anesthesia.  That’s why it’s necessary to understand that mistakes and negligence during this critical phase of care can have dangerous consequences.

Who Is Providing the Anesthesia?

While anesthesia may be provided by your medical doctor, most often it is performed by a specially trained advanced nurse practitioner or anesthesiologist. Sometimes medical residents in training will participate in providing anesthesia care.  Often, you will not know exactly who is providing the anesthesia care until shortly before the procedure.   When a longer surgery is in play, responsibility for anesthesia care is commonly handed off during meal breaks or shift changes.

Can Anesthesia Errors Occur?

Absolutely. Extreme care must be taken during all phases of anesthesia.  You as the patient must be properly assessed for risk factors such as sleep apnea and allergic reactions to medicine.  The anesthesia must be given in specific doses throughout the surgery. You must be monitored and positioned to avoid breathing problems and nerve damage. After surgery, the anesthesia has to be “reversed” correctly, which requires close care and attention.

Additionally, here are a few errors commonly made when administering anesthesia:

  • Failure to Identify Patients with Pre-Existing Airway Problems
  • Errors in Delivering Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia
  • Improper Placement of Tubes and IV Lines
  • Missing Changes in the Patient’s Condition
  • Discharging Patients from the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Before They Have Recovered.

A fundamental goal of anesthesia care is to safely sedate and numb patients while still delivering all oxygen needed in the body.

Lack of oxygen can result in:

  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Organ Failure
  • Heart attack
  • Death

How Do I Know if I’m Victim of Anesthesia Error?

Often, patients or family members are told that there were complications after a patient is injured or dies as a result of an anesthesia error.  Family members often have unanswered questions about what happened, and wonder about mistakes or negligent care.

If you feel you are the victim of anesthesia errors, contact us today. We offer a free telephone, online or in person consultation. Contact us to schedule your appointment. We will welcome you to one of our law offices, or we can visit you in your hospital or home location. Our Santa Rosa and Sacramento attorneys will listen to you, consider the facts and offer preliminary advice about how to pursue the maximum available compensation for your injuries and losses. Call 707-525-1212 (Santa Rosa), 916-448-1010 (Sacramento), or email us.