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When might an anesthesia error constitute malpractice?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Firm News

Being operated on in Washington or somewhere else without the benefit of anesthesia is unthinkable today. It eases you to sleep while an operation is being performed, you are oblivious to what is going on, you feel no pain, and when you awaken, everything is finished. What could be better?

There can be some major drawbacks. For example, general anesthesia needs to be administered correctly by a trained, experienced medical professional. Although we tend to take it for granted, according to the website Standards of Care, “[It] can be very harmful, even life-threatening, if misused or if all of a patient’s existing health conditions are not known.”

Doctors must weigh various factors before putting someone under general anesthesia. These include the patient’s weight, underlying health conditions, medications they’re taking and the procedure they’re undergoing. The consequences can be serious if doctors miss something. 

What can go wrong while a patient is on anesthesia

Things can go awry in multiple ways during the general anesthesia administration process, including:

  • An error in the dose
  • An equipment issue
  • Not taking appropriate corrective steps immediately if the patient starts encountering difficulty
  • Being lax about getting a patient’s informed consent

Patients may suffer the following adverse outcomes when the above-referenced anesthesia errors occur:

  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage
  • Infection 
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coma

If you think you were injured by anesthesia, then you might want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. You’ll need to be able to prove that your doctor breached their duty to provide care and that their breach resulted in you suffering serious harm to be successful in taking such legal action. A malpractice case can be very complex and lengthy. Be aware from the outset that it may not be as simple to prove liability as you may assume.