Effects of Anesthesia Injuries
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Merrida Coxwell with Coxwell & Associates.
Anesthesia is designed to dull or completely numb the sense of pain during surgery. In some cases, anesthesia may be local to the site of the operation, or it may put the patient under entirely. Doctors responsible for administering anesthesia are called anesthesiologists, and aside from administering the actual anesthetic, they are responsible for monitoring the patient’s breathing and other vital functions to make sure everything is working as it should while the patient is unconscious. Failing to pay attention to a patient’s vital signs during surgery is a common cause of anesthesia injuries. Too much anesthesia may inhibit a patient’s ability to breathe and function while unconscious, whereas too little anesthesia may cause the patient to awaken or regain sensation during surgery, which can be deeply traumatic.
Anesthesia errors can also lead to a myriad of patient injuries, some of which can have lasting and even permanent effects. Severe anesthesia errors may even lead to patient death. If you or a loved one have suffered from an anesthesia injury, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
Injuries that may be caused by anesthesia errors include the following:
- Tooth damage
- Lip, tongue, mouth injuries
- Tracheal perforation
- Paralysis of vocal cords
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Oxygen deprivation injuries
In the case that a patient awakens or regains sensation while under anesthesia, the following psychological injuries may also occur:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some injuries can have lasting effects on a patient’s life.
It’s not surprising that certain injuries may continue to affect a patient long after the operation is over. While some anesthesia injuries may heal with time and additional short-term medical care (i.e. injuries to the mouth, lips, tongue, etc.), others may require long-term care and continued treatment to manage symptoms (i.e. brain and nerve damage). Continued medical treatment and life care expenses after an anesthesia injury can leave the injured party and their family overwhelmed with medical bills and other expenses that don’t go away.
When a patient is injured by a medical provider’s negligence, they may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.
In any situation where one party is injured by the negligence or intentional conduct of another party, it’s important to talk to a personal injury attorney about options for physical and financial recovery. According to an article on the epidemiology of anesthesia-related mortality published in the National Library of Medicine, every year anesthesia injuries account for approximately 34 deaths and contribute to an additional 281 deaths in the United States. When a patient suffers due to the error of any medical provider, including anesthesiologists or assistant anesthesiologists, they may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim to seek compensation not only for past and present medical bills, but for future medical bills, lost wages, life care expenses, and even pain and suffering compensation as well.
To learn more about the potential effects of an anesthesia injury on a patient’s life, or for help filing a claim, talk to a medical malpractice attorney sooner rather than later.