When a person undergoes a surgical procedure, their trust is placed not only in their surgeon but also in the whole surgical team. Before the procedure, a patient will meet with an anesthesiologist who will administer a combination of anesthetic drugs to make them unconscious, numb, and generally paralyzed during the length of the surgery.
When an anesthesiologist makes an error, the consequences can be catastrophic. These include brain damage, coma, organ failure, or cardiac arrest. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or if a loved one passed away due to a negligent error in anesthesia administration, call our Maryland attorney for injury or death from an anesthesia mistake. Call the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.
Uses of Anesthesia and Anesthetic Drugs in Maryland Hospitals
Anesthesia is a combination of drugs that induces a state of temporary loss of sensation and awareness in preparation for surgery. An anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, or other professional typically administers three anesthetic drugs to induce anesthesia. First, a drug is administered to put the patient to sleep; next, a painkiller is used; and finally, a paralytic that prevents the patient from moving is administered.
Depending on the procedure, an anesthesiologist will administer various types of anesthesia. Under “general anesthesia,” a patient is entirely asleep, unaware, and paralyzed. Only a section of the body is anesthetized under “regional anesthesia,” while “local anesthesia” only affects a specific part of the body.
Anesthesiology Errors in Maryland Hospitals
An anesthesiologist can mistakenly administer anesthetics if they fail to evaluate a patient’s medical history. Some patients present a higher risk because of existing health conditions. Moreover, complications such as high blood pressure or medication allergies will influence an anesthesiologist’s choice of anesthetics or dosage. Merely relying on information from a medical chart or info communicated by other members of the medical team increases the likelihood of mistakes. Failure to take a patient’s entire history into account, including preexisting conditions, age, surgical history, or allergies, can result in an anesthesia mistake.
Additional mistakes an anesthesiologist could make before surgery include failing to promptly administer anesthetic. Moreover, improperly intubating the patient could potentially damage the patient’s teeth. Failing to provide a patient with proper instructions before the procedure, such as informing them that fasting is required, might also constitute medical malpractice.
During the procedure, several anesthesia-related mistakes can lead to catastrophic results. For instance, if an anesthesiologist incorrectly administers oxygen during the procedure or fails to monitor the patient’s vital signs, the patient may experience life-threatening complications such as brain damage or heart failure. Neglecting to recognize developing complications could lead to adverse medical conditions. An anesthesiologist is also required to periodically move a patient during a lengthy surgery to ensure specific parts of the body do not experience too much pressure. Failing to move a patient could result in nerve damage and other serious consequences.
Anesthesia awareness is another error that can occur under general anesthesia. Under this situation, an anesthetized patient is mentally aware of everything going on but is paralyzed and unable to alert the medical staff or seek help. This can be highly traumatic and terrifying.
Anesthesia mistakes can also occur after the surgical procedure. Postoperative errors include leaving a sedated patient unattended and failing to provide postoperative instructions.
Finally, all anesthesiologists are not equal; there are different levels of skill and experience. A patient that presents a substantially high risk requires a highly experienced anesthesiologist for the procedure. Using an inexperienced anesthesiologist in these circumstances could constitute medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or if a loved one passed away due to an anesthesiologist’s negligent conduct, contact our Maryland attorney for injury or death from an anesthesia error or mistake.
Suing Doctors and Hospitals for Anesthesia Mistakes in Maryland
If an anesthesiologist’s negligent mistake results in an adverse medical complication or death, they may be liable for any injury or harm. Depending on the circumstances of the error and injury, the hospital or medical facility may also share liability for any damages.
Our experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys will review the employment relationship between the hospital and the anesthesiologist. If the anesthesiologist is a hospital employee, the hospital can be held liable for their mistakes. Holding a hospital liable is more challenging if the anesthesiologist is an independent contractor or private practitioner.
The anesthesiologist is not the only member of the hospital staff that may be held liable for an unjustified mistake. For example, if hospital technicians were negligent in keeping the medical equipment in proper working order, the hospital may be held liable for any malfunctioning machines. Additionally, there may be a claim against the equipment manufacturer if the equipment was defective.
It is also vital that the operating facilities are kept clean and that all of the medical instruments and equipment are sterilized. If a patient acquires an infection from poorly sterilized instruments or equipment, the hospital may be liable for any injuries or harm.
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Injury or Death from an Anesthesia Mistake for a Free Consultation
Anesthesia mistakes can lead to catastrophic medical consequences. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an anesthesiologist’s negligent conduct, call our Maryland attorney for injury or death from anesthesia mistakes. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice have the resources to fight for your rights. Call (410) 694-7291 for a free case consultation today.