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Anesthesia Malpractice

Medical errors during and after the administration of anesthesia often have tragic consequences for patients and families, and when complications or side effects of general anesthesia occur due to negligence, patients and families sometimes fail to consult with an anesthesia attorney who possess the awareness or experience necessary for adequate compensation and closure.

Due to complications, there are many cases where patients do not wake up after surgery due to negligent anesthesia care. Improperly positioned patients, poor monitoring and failure to adjust anesthesia and oxygen levels during a procedure can cause irreparable brain damage and other serious injuries. Sadly, many families suffer such losses everyday without justice or compensation simply due to their lack of understanding regarding the laws of anesthesia awareness. Attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP can help patients and their families understand the complex medical and legal issues involved in cases of medical malpractice due to anesthesiologist negligence (including unnecessary side effects or complications of general anesthesia).

To promote anesthesia awareness, the attorneys at Levy Konigsberg provide the following general overview of the anesthesia process, which is based on their experience in litigating cases involving anesthesia side effects and complications from general anesthesia. Which, if followed correctly, can greatly reduce the cases of side effects and complications of general anesthesia due to malpractice.

The role of the anesthesiologist in a surgery begins well before the operation starts. Prevention of general anesthesia side effects or complications requires attention from the anesthesiologist and their staff from the admittance of a patient right through to the patient’s discharge from the hospital or clinic. Pre-anesthesia care involves evaluating the patient, confirming pre-operative data, and recording the operative plans. This requires clear and concise communication between anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons and patients. The failure to perform a final patient assessment for anesthesia tolerance can result in devastating injuries, complications and side effects due to the improper administration of general anesthesia during the procedure.

Before beginning the operation, the patient should be positioned properly with the correct padding to reduce the risk of pressure injuries during the procedure. Failure to properly position a patient can result in neurological injuries and even paralysis. The proper placement of intravenous lines is also a critical role of the anesthesia team in the proactive prevention of anesthesia related complications. Monitoring equipment including electrocardiograms (ECG), oximetry to monitor oxygen levels, and automatic blood pressure cuffs should be properly set-up and checked for proper functioning.

Besides the direct administration of anesthesia and its side effects and complications, general anesthesia often involves insertion of a tube, called an endotracheal tube, into the patient’s trachea. Negligent intubation of airways on the patient can cause respiratory distress, injury to the trachea or other complications. Poor placement of tourniquets by an anesthesiologist can cause permanent nerve damage to the affected limb. For an anesthesia attorney, awareness of indirect injuries resulting from the negligent practice of anesthesiology is essential for competent case building.

It is the anesthesiologist’s duty to manage and deliver various medicines, oxygen, and other fluids to the patient during the procedure. All operative activities, including urine output and blood loss, should be monitored and evaluated by the anesthesia staff as well. Improper administration of anesthesia, fluids and gases, as well as insufficient monitoring of the patient during a surgical procedure can cause lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in stroke, brain damage, permanent coma or death. As stated earlier, most of the general anesthesia side effects and complications listed here can be prevented through simple monitoring.

The anesthesiologist is also responsible for gathering and documenting all information regarding the operation. This information must be recorded neatly and clearly in an anesthesia record. It should contain charts for vital signs, fluids, and drugs; vital signs and other medical parameters; and notes as to the timing and specifics of important events that occurred. The medical records of the anesthesiologist should also document a list of all people present for the procedure, including the nurses, anesthetics, anesthesiologists, surgeons and even their assistants. These records can assist skilled anesthesia attorneys in locating witnesses to improper treatment during the surgery.

After surgery, patients are usually transferred to a recovery room or post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and remain under the care of the anesthesia staff. Nurses and other health staff from that department should continue to monitor and evaluate, at regular time period, the vital signs and pulse oximetry of the patient. If this monitoring is insufficient or negligently performed, the patient can deteriorate rapidly and may require extensive treatment to regain function, thus increasing the chance of side effects or complications of general anesthetic treatment. The nursing staff should always keep the anesthesiologist informed of the condition of the patient during this critical time.

The patient should not be discharged from the operating room, PACU or recovery room unless he is conscious and stable. Negligently discharging an unstable patient from the OR, PACU or recovery room is malpractice that can set the stage for many adverse medical events minutes or hours later.

Anesthesia negligence involves complex anatomical structures, metabolic parameters and medication analysis. Injuries sustained as a result of negligent administration of anesthesiology or lack of proper monitoring often require extensive medical treatments, and can affect an injured patient for the rest of their lives.

This is why it is so important to consult with an anesthesia negligence attorney at Levy Konigsberg LLP. We demand from anesthesiologist a commitment to competence, accountability and awareness. We are anesthesia attorneys who are committed to achieving the maximum compensation for patients whose lives have been tragically affected by medical malpractice by the anesthesiology staff in the operating room.

ATTENTION: If you believe that you or your loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you should seek legal advice of experienced medical malpractice attorneys to determine if you have a case. For a free consultation with the medical malpractice lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP please call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at (800) 315-3806 or submit an email inquiry.

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