Most surgical procedures require that patients be given anesthesia prior to the start of the procedure.  The term anesthesia refers to a temporary, medically-induced state that causes any combination of amnesia, inability to feel pain, loss of skeletal muscle reflexes, loss of responsiveness, and decreased stress response.  Administration of anesthetics may involve one or more types of drug, depending on the desired effect. Generally, the purpose of the anesthesia is to make the patient unconscious or unable to feel pain during surgery. In the vast majority of surgeries, anesthesia is administered without any problems. 

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According to a recent statistical study, it is estimated that anesthetic drugs are administered approximately 40 million times per year.

The most common types of anesthesia that is administered are:

  • General anesthesia – The patient is rendered unconscious when administered with general anesthesia
  • Spinal and epidural anesthesia – this type of anesthesia is delivered via injection near the spinal cord
  • Local anesthesia – which numbs a specific body area (e.g. a tooth)
  • Regional anesthesia – which is used to numb larger areas of the body (e.g. an entire arm or leg)
  • Dissociative anesthesia – this type of anesthesia causes a “trance-like” state of consciousness for the patient

What Is An Anesthesia Error? 

All types of anesthesia come with inherent risks. However, the deeper the sedation, the higher the risk of serious, even fatal, complications.

Anesthesia errors can occur for a variety of reasons.  Most such errors occur because the anesthesiologists, doctors, nurses or other medical specialists failed to follow the proper standard of care during their treatment of the patient. According to a recent German study, deaths associated with anesthesia errors are on the rise. Approximately 7 patients in every million die because of anesthesia during a surgical procedure. One in every 20 patients die within a year after receiving general anesthesia due to long-term complications.  The figure is even more staggering in the 65 and over age group where the death rate is one in every 10.

The most common anesthesia errors include the following instances:

  • Delayed delivery of anesthesia
  • Administering the patient with an incorrect anesthesia drug
  • Administering too little or too much of one or more anesthetic drugs
  • Failure to prevent anesthesia interactions, such as with prescription drugs
  • Administering anesthetics to a patient with allergies
  • Failure to properly instruct patients prior to anesthesia, such as limiting food or liquid intake
  • Failure to administer oxygen during surgery or properly monitor the patient
  • Dangerously prolonged sedation
  • Defective medical devices and equipment used during anesthetic administration
  • Other harmful drug interaction
  • Failure to intubate

Anesthesia errors may result in the following common medical injuries:

  • Tracheal damage
  • Lack of adequate oxygen supply
  • Cardiovascular injury, such as heart attack or stroke
  • Birth defects
  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage
  • Organ damage
  • Seizures
  • Blood pressure complications
  • Spinal cord injury, which may result in paralysis
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Permanent nerve damage

Our team of attorneys is always available to answer your questions.  We are very responsive to phone calls and emails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Our team will work swiftly, efficiently, and aggressively to meet your needs and to obtain a favorable result for you.

Every anesthesia error claim is unique and fact specific.  Our team has an efficient process for handling potential claims for anesthesia error. We first sit down with the patient and interview them to find out the circumstances surrounding condition and how their current situation came to be. We will then obtain your medical records and review them.  Our lawyers will conduct the necessary due diligence and have top medical experts review the injured patient’s medical records. Once we have completed our initial investigation, we will sit down with you again to go over your options and will work together with you to get you a favorable outcome.

In most cases, the time for commencing a medical malpractice claim is two and a half years from the time of the malpractice. There are certain circumstances where the statute of limitations time period is shorter. Time is of the essence. The lawyers at The Law Office of Effie Soter, P.C. offer free initial consultations to discuss your rights. You can contact us at (646) 504-7384 or via email to learn more about your rights so that we can obtain the best outcome for you.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are solely intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.