Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists have a complicated job and unfortunately, even small mistakes can lead to significant patient injuries. Administering the correct type and amount of medication is critical to keeping patients safe.
Anesthesia and Human Error
Anesthesia is administered to patients approximately 40 million times each year. Though most of the time this happens without incident, when an error occurs, it can be life threatening. Mistakes with anesthesia can be just as dangerous to patients as surgical errors. Brain damage and even death have been linked to incorrectly administered anesthesia.
- Medical professionals do not collect thorough medical histories
- Too much or too little medication is administered
- Vital signs are not monitored
- Defective equipment is used, or
- The wrong medication is administered
Anesthesia errors do not only happen in hospitals, they can also occur in outpatient surgical centers, urgent care facilities, doctor's offices and dental offices. Not all anesthesia errors are the result of medical malpractice. For example, if a patient is allergic to anesthesia or experiences certain unexpected reactions that could not be anticipated, this is not necessarily the result of the actions of a medical professional. If an error resulted because a medical professional failed to abide by the accepted standards of medical care however, the victim may be entitled to compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.
The Dangers of Anesthesia
Because the medications used in anesthesia are specifically formulated to make patients less receptive to pain, some may not realize that a mistake has been made until it is too late. Certain risk factors such as heart problems, high blood pressure and breathing problems may increase the risk of injury as the result of anesthesia. Medical professionals should keep these risk factors in mind when determining how and what type of medications to administer prior to a medical or dental procedure.
Medical professionals should review the risks of anesthesia so that patients are aware of possible consequences. Patients can be proactive by asking questions to anesthesiologists and other medical professions so that they know what to expect before, during and after surgery. If a patient suspects that their injury is the result of anesthesiology error, a medical malpractice lawyer can provide information regarding medical malpractice law in Illinois along with any compensation that may be available.