Medical malpractice claims for anesthesia errors commonly involve the following:
- Failing to ask about a patient’s medical history and allergies
- Neglecting to monitor the patient during sedation
- Using defective or unsanitary equipment
- Incorrectly intubating the patient
- Administering an incorrect dosage of anesthesia
- Failing to check for interactions with other medications
On August 4, 2011, Time magazine reported that general anesthesia-related deaths are on the rise since more people are being operated on these days. “Anesthesia can be particularly risky on older patients with heart problems or high blood pressure,” the article stated. In fact, 1 in 10 patients over age 65 die each year.
“With the growing use of anesthetics in the elderly and other at-risk groups, understanding the minimal dose required to induce the necessary level of anesthesia is hugely important,” said Prof. Hugh Perry, who chairs the Neurosciences and Mental Health Board at the Medical Research Council.
On the other hand, if a patient is given too little anesthesia, he or she may awaken during surgery, yet be unable to speak or move. This condition, called anesthesia awareness, results in the ability to feel pain during surgery as well as the ability to hear and remember what was said in the operating room. This may cause post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
PROVEN RESULTS IN ANESTHESIA ERROR CASES
Errors in judgment have caused serious or even fatal injuries, such as brain damage, heart attacks, collapsed lungs, and stroke. If you suffered any of these as a result of an anesthesia mistake, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, long-term disability, rehabilitation, lost income, and other damages.
At The Mellino Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling anesthesia error claims. Our founding attorney, Chris Mellino, has personally handled several anesthesia lawsuits—and won.
On September 10, 2010, Chris represented a woman who underwent elective surgery. Beforehand, she told several people that she was severely allergic to the drug Atrovent and this was noted in her chart. “Her body shut down shortly after the anesthesia doctor chose to give her a drug that was almost identical to the drug she’s allergic to” Chris told jurors in 2013. “Not only that but they were completely caught off-guard by the anesthesia allergy. The anesthesia doctor wasn’t even in the room when the patient stopped breathing.”
In this clear case of anesthesia error and negligence the jury awarded the plaintiff $3 million.