Experienced Washington, D.C. Anesthesia Error Attorneys
Protecting families in the nation’s capital from careless anesthetists
Anesthesia allows doctors to save patients whose lives would have been lost without surgery. It is one of the most valuable discoveries ever made in the field of medicine. But as with other medications, the wrong administration of anesthesia can have horrific results. Paulson & Nace, PLLC protects families whose loved ones suffered undue injury and harm at Washington, D.C. hospitals and health care facilities. We advocate on your behalf in courtrooms and during settlement negotiations after you or your family member has been injured because of an anesthesia mistake. When your family is suffering, our family wants to help.
What constitutes an anesthesia mistake?
Most people believe that an anesthesiologist will handle their injections. This is largely untrue. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) rather than anesthesiologists are usually tasked with administering anesthesia. This is because there are more CRNAs available; in truth, most hospitals and healthcare facilities may only have one anesthesiologist on staff. Though CRNAs are trained nurses who have the skills to handle the procedure, they do not have the same training or education that anesthesiologists have.
Anesthesia drugs are powerful; improper handling can lead to serious consequences. Paulson & Nace handles complex cases involving:
- Administering the wrong dosage of anesthesia
- Delaying the administration of anesthesia
- Failing to monitor the patient’s heart rate and respiration
- Using the wrong type of anesthesia (general vs. local)
- Broken, defective or otherwise faulty equipment
- Failing to warn the patient about potential side effects
- Failing to identify risk factors, such as heart conditions or allergies
- Failing to provide patient instructions for the day before the surgery
When the wrong dosage of anesthesia is administered, patients may suffer irreversible brain damage, slip into a coma, or have a seizure. Under the most tragic circumstances, an incorrect dose could lead to the wrongful death of the patient; an overdose can be fatal on its own, whereas an under-dose may cause the patient to go into shock or have a heart attack while on the operating table.
At Paulson & Nace, we handle complex malpractice cases like these throughout Washington, D.C. Our skilled team of trial attorneys is unafraid of large insurance companies and hospital administrators, who put their profits and their budgets first on their priority list. We have secured millions of dollars for our patients, money that has gone towards medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses and pain and suffering.
Why is informed consent important?
Warning a patient about potential side effects of a procedure is incredibly important. When any surgery or procedure involves anesthesia, there are several physicians to whom a patient will need to provide informed consent; one of those is the anesthesiologist.
Informed consent is intended to give you, as a patient, all of the information – both good and bad – that will allow you to weigh whether the procedure is worth the risks presented versus the reward. At the end of the day, you have the ultimate say in whether you receive medical care.
There are four principles that constitute providing informed consent, which require:
- The patient to have the mental capacity to make a medical
- The medical provider to disclose all relevant information regarding the medical care to be provided, including expected benefits and risks, and probability of those benefits and risks.
- The patient comprehends the information provided.
- That the patient freely and voluntarily gives his or her consent to receive medical care.
If any one of these principles fail, informed consent has not been given. Without consenting to the risks of anesthesia, you have not accepted those risks or any injuries you may suffer because of the procedure whether or not negligence was involved.
How often does general anesthesia go wrong?
General anesthesia usually uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses (anesthetics) to block your brain’s pain signals or reflexes. General anesthesia is used primarily for procedures that:
- Take a long time
- Involve significant blood loss
- Expose you to a cold environment
- Occur in the chest or upper abdominal surgery where breathing can be affected
It is estimated that 2 people out of every 1,000 who require being anesthetized remain awake during the procedure because they haven’t been given the proper drug dosages.
What injuries can anesthesia cause to D.C. Patients?
An error can turn a patient into a victim with little effort. In addition to the injuries mentioned above, it is possible that negligent anesthesia administration can inflict damage patients will have to live with long-term, if not the rest of their lives, such as:
- The muscle relaxants administered prior to surgery make it impossible for patients to communicate that they are awake or in pain. This can cause patients to experience psychological problems akin to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- The risk of expectant mothers about to give birth by cesarean section as anesthesia can cause the baby to suffer cerebral palsy, a birth injury, or suffer from learning disabilities later in life.
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), confusion, and blurred vision.
- Spinal cord injuries causing paralysis, complications with blood pressure, malignant hyperthermia.
If you are harmed because of negligent anesthesia practices, you will need to hire an attorney with experience in fighting these cases to prove that negligent behavior was at the root of your injuries.
Protecting patients harmed by anesthesia errors for more than 40 years
For all of its lifesaving capability, anesthesia is still a powerful and potentially deadly drug. The knowledgeable Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorneys at Paulson & Nace, PLLC have cared for victims of anesthesia errors for decades, and we will continue pursuing justice for them in the decades to come. To schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation in our Washington, D.C. office, please call 202-463-1999 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.