Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyers
When you go in for an operation in the hospital, it’s normal to worry about potential surgical complications. However, it’s also important to be aware doctors can be careless, choosing to not follow the rules that others follow when using anesthesia during the procedure. In fact, in 2016, three percent of payment amounts awarded for malpractice allegations were due to anesthesia issues. In Ohio, insurance companies representing hospitals and doctors paid approximately a total of $2.4 – 3 million for anesthesia error cases in 2016. All of these payouts could have been prevented if the physician simply followed the rules other doctors must follow.
Imagine this: you go in for a routine procedure, but there’s a problem with the anesthesia administered or the anesthesiologist. You make it through the operation but with an irreversible complication. Who is liable? What is considered an error? Can you file a lawsuit? Experienced anesthesia malpractice lawyers can help you through the chaos that comes with an unplanned error. Before you file a lawsuit against a health care professional, an experienced surgical errors attorney can help.
Representing Victims of Anesthesia Negligence
Anesthesia is common in surgical procedures today. When a patient undergoes surgery, they are usually “put under.” Anesthesia is used to relax a patient, block their pain, make them sleepy and forgetful, or ensure the patient is unconscious during surgery. In some cases, it may only put the patient into a semi-conscious state. Drugs, medications, and/or gasses are all effective. There are three types of anesthesia:
An anesthesiologist is responsible for administering the drug. They are also in charge of keeping the patient sedated during surgery. In addition, they will monitor vital signs and ensure everything is going smoothly. However, things don’t always work as intended. All too often, a patient faces injuries due to improper delivery of anesthesia. When the anesthesiologist fails to follow the safety rules in place and causes an injury or death, an individual should retain an anesthesia malpractice attorney.
Common Injuries Caused by an Anesthesiologist
Anesthesia typically is a safe way to block pain during surgery or other medical operations. However, while generally safe, having anesthesia administered poses the risk of the doctor committing an error. Errors happen when an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) fails to follow the rules that are known in their profession and are expected to be followed to protect their patients. Common examples injuries include, but are not limited to:
If you or a loved one experienced one or many of these complications, it may be because there was an anesthesia error during the procedure. A lawyer can help with any of these anesthesia negligence cases.
What are Common Reasons Patients Have Complications?
Common anesthesia errors that happen are:
There are many normal side effects people may experience after being exposed to anesthesia. The most common effects it has on the body include vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, sore throat, shivering, fatigue, or a hoarse throat.
Waking Up During Surgery
Occasionally, when a person undergoes anesthesia they will make up in the middle of their procedure. This may happen if an anesthesiologist uses too little on a patient. Many times, a patient won’t remember this experience, but there are cases when someone will wake up, feel paralyzed, and will not be able to speak to let the medical professional know that they are awake. Unfortunately, this could mean they are aware and even feel pain from surgery, which could result in post-traumatic stress. However, experiencing awareness does not mean you have a malpractice case.
In order for a lawyer to take your case, you must have experienced a permanent or life-changing injury due to an error or malpractice made by the anesthesiologist. If you experience anesthesia awareness, along with a catastrophic injury, then you would have a case to take on. Our law firm does not represent anesthesiologists. We only represent the victims of negligence.
How Do I File a Lawsuit Against an Anesthesiologist?
An experienced local attorney must review your case. It is essential that they are able to show negligence on behalf of the medical professional. For this reason, it’s important to talk with an attorney familiar with negligence in Cleveland quickly after the anesthesia injury occurs. It will help with the investigative process and make it more likely that you file the suit on time.
If you are the victim of such a case, you are likely entitled to compensation for the following:
In order to have a case, you must prove that the anesthesiologist was negligent and failed to provide the degree of care and skill that the average anesthesiologist typically would in that situation.
Common Anesthesiologist Malpractice Cases
Anesthesiologists are legally and ethically required to properly administer the anesthesia and monitor a patient throughout the duration of their procedure while they’re under. Many errors fall under the list of negligence. This form of malpractice usually results from the anesthesiologist’s choice to be careless of choice to not keep up with the latest medical advancements.
Errors in Medication Administration
A young girl is in for the removal of her wisdom teeth and is given general anesthesia. The anesthesiologist administers it improperly and then fails to monitor her breathing, which, in turn, causes a lack of oxygen to the brain for too long. She makes it through the operation but has permanent brain damage.
The amount of anesthesia patients need is not a one size fits all deal; it varies widely from person to person. The amount depends on age, gender, weight, and height. An anesthesiologist monitors neurological signs and brain waves to know when they’ve given the correct dosage. Medication mistakes are avoidable. When an anesthesiologist administers too much (causing an overdose) or the wrong form, it may be a form of malpractice.
Anesthesiologist Doesn’t Properly Review the Patient’s Medical Record
A man goes into the hospital for minor surgery and anesthesia is administered. The anesthesiologist fails to look at the man’s allergy history and misses that the man has a known allergy to the anesthesia used in the procedure. During the procedure, the man has an allergic reaction, goes into anaphylactic shock, and dies.
An anesthesiologist must look at a patient’s medical history before deciding the anesthesia form and dosage. It is their job to recognize allergies or any other pre-existing conditions that may cause harmful risks when anesthesia is administered. These conditions include but are not limited to:
An elderly woman goes in for a routine knee replacement. They place her under general anesthesia so she isn’t awake during the uncomfortable procedure. The anesthesiologist fails to properly monitor the woman’s breathing. It is too late when they notice her breathing is hindered. They try to intubate the woman to restore the flow of oxygen, but, because of her anatomy, cannot. The woman doesn’t wake up out of surgery and is in a permanent vegetative state as a result of a lack of oxygen to her brain.
It is critical for an anesthesiologist to monitor a patient through the entire duration that they are under. Anesthesia slows down and can completely stop a patient’s breathing. This is why it is crucial that the physician monitors the patient’s vital signs. If someone’s breathing or airway is compromised, they can suffocate or suffer from asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). In these instances, the patient would need to be intubated, which takes practice to be able to insert it properly. If a patient is injured or dies from an anesthesiologist’s lack of monitoring or the ability to intubate then malpractice could have taken place.
Who is Liable for Errors in Cleveland Cases?
Knowing who you are filing a lawsuit against is important. When it comes to anesthesia errors, you have to determine whether the hospital or the anesthesiologist directly is liable (or both). In the case that the negligent anesthesiologist is an employee of the hospital, then the hospital and the doctor should be sued. However, if the anesthesiologist is an independent contractor, you must sue, at the very least, the doctor. If equipment failure caused the anesthesia error, then the hospital becomes liable for having faulty equipment.
Preventing Anesthesia Malpractice
Due to the nature of anesthesia, malpractice occurs, generally speaking, while the patient is asleep. This means that it is difficult to find out the real reason why the error occurred. Here are a few tips to avoid this situation:
The more information you know going into a medical procedure, the better. After you’ve come out, you should also ask how the procedure went and if there were any complications from the anesthesia.
Contact an Anesthesia Malpractice Attorney Today
Anesthesia negligence typically occurs during surgery. After the anesthesiologist sedates the patient, various issues may arise. Therefore, you may be unsure if the complications you or a loved one suffered are the result of medical negligence related to anesthesia. These cases are challenging because finding evidence is a difficult task. In some situations, medical records may not include a full or accurate detailed account in the event of an anesthesia error. That’s why it is important to hire an experienced anesthesia malpractice lawyer to help you navigate through the chaos.
Tittle & Perlmuter will help you navigate the complex issues involved with these types of cases. We understand that negligence can cause financial and emotional hardship for families. The situation is often very stressful. We are a “client-focused” firm. We are happy to arrange evening and weekend appointments to fit your schedule and lessen the stress. And if you are not mobile, we are more than willing to come to you! Call today to get started on your case.