When a person in Austin, Texas, has surgery, they expect some normal risks, such as bruising. However, if unexpected injury occurs from a doctor or nurse’s negligence, it may count as medical malpractice. While there are several types of surgical errors, a common mistake involves the anesthesia.
Overview of anesthesia
Anesthesia covers a range of drugs used to help a patient avoid feeling pain, usually given by IV or masks. During the surgery, an anesthesiologist, sometimes with a certified nurse anesthetist, monitors the patient’s breathing.
General anesthesia, a combination of gasses and IV drugs, is used when the patient needs to be completely unconscious during a procedure. Local anesthesia is commonly applied to numb a specific area, such as for stitches, while the patient remains conscious. Regional anesthesia is applied to a larger body area, such as a spinal tap, with the patient being conscious.
Common anesthesia errors and complications
While a patient can expect some side effects, an error occurring from negligence could form the basis of a medical malpractice case. A common error is giving a patient too much anesthesia, which may cause vomiting, nausea, hypothermia and extended unconsciousness. If the patient doesn’t get enough anesthesia, they may wake up during surgery and feel the operation.
Another common error made by an anesthesiologist is not moving the patient during long procedures to avoid optic nerve damage. Some other anesthesia errors include:
- Administration of incorrect anesthesia
- Failure to instruct pre-operation
- Improper intubation
- Failure to monitor
While anesthesia should be safe, there are risks of the chemicals entering the bloodstream with local and regional anesthesia. Regional anesthesia also carries the risk of nerve damage, headaches, hypertension, and lung or heart damage.
Not all medical errors mean that malpractice occurred, but health care professionals should follow a basic level of care. It can take some investigation to determine fault when patients have been victims of malpractice and are seeking compensation for the harm they suffered.