Injuries and Mortality from Anesthesia Errors

Injuries and Mortality from Anesthesia ErrorsAccording to a Columbia University Anesthesia Errors Study, which analyzed anesthesia-related mortality in the U.S., about 46% of the deaths could be attributed to an overdose of anesthetic, 42.5% to adverse effects of anesthetics, 3.6% to complications of anesthesia during pregnancy, labor and postpartum and the final 7.3% to other complications. The highest anesthesia-related death rates were found in men and elderly individuals over age 85.

Anesthesia errors are one type of medical malpractice that occur due to negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist, nurse or any other medical professional who is involved with administering the anesthesia medication to the patient.

Examples of anesthesia errors

There are countless types of preventable medical errors that can occur related to administering anesthesia to the patient. Whether the mistake was caused by negligence or incompetence or the use of defective or faulty equipment, if the anesthesia error causes injury or death, the patient or their family may have grounds for legal action in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here are some examples of anesthesia errors:

  • Overdose of one or more of the anesthesia medications
  • Administering the wrong drug
  • Adverse drug interactions
  • Anesthesia awareness (patient wakes up during surgery)
  • Failure to monitor oxygen during surgery
  • Use of defective medical equipment during administration of anesthesia
  • Failure to read charts and make not of the patient’s medical conditions
  • Intubation injuries
  • Communication errors

Anesthesia complications and injuries

The anesthesia errors mentioned above can cause some of the following types of injuries:

  • Brain damage from oxygen deprivation
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Stroke, seizures
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Damage to the throat
  • Anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction to the anesthetic drugs)
  • Blood clots
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Coma
  • Death

Proving anesthesia error in a medical malpractice lawsuit

To prevail in a lawsuit for medical malpractice, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to present sufficient evidence that can draw a direct line of causation between the medical professional’s negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries. If the anesthesiologist’s actions were not in accordance with the acceptable standards of care for their specialty, the plaintiff would need a medical expert who could show proof of that and how the physician’s negligent actions or failure to act caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

An experienced Washington, DC medical malpractice attorney can represent your interests and be a strong advocate for your right to recover compensation for your injuries when they were the result of the negligence of your doctor or anesthesiologist.