Anesthesia is a medical procedure that numbs the human body and makes it unconscious so that a patient won’t feel any pain while a surgery session lasts. With more than 50 million surgeries performed across the United States, it’s impossible to undermine the essence of anesthesia. Gone is the era when people have to bear the pain while being conscious as they go under the knife, thanks to technology. Yet, mistakes are also in the mix, and many failures in anesthesia have been recorded. Some have led to personal injury and the wrongful death of victims.
If you’ve been injured due to a failure in anesthesia, you can file a compensation claim and get paid. An anesthesia malpractice attorney can review your case and determine if it’s worth filing a compensation claim, as not all anesthesia errors fall under medical malpractice.
Since anesthesia failure is possible regardless of the technology involved, let’s look at its failure rate and what you should do if you or your family member becomes a victim.
Failure Rate of Anesthesia
Spinal anesthesia, which is classified under regional anesthesia, is the most commonly applied in medical practice because the spine is the central support system of the body. Hence, most abdominal, pelvic, and spinal surgeries require this form of anesthesia. So, its failure rate represents a large percentage of anesthesia errors across the medical world.
Spinal anesthesia has a failure rate that falls between 1 and 17 percent, according to research published in a Dubai medical journal. This rate varies depending on the type of surgery, the patient’s age, the position in which it was applied, and the technique used.
In terms of surgery, orthopedic surgery takes the lead with 34.12%, followed by obstetric surgery with a 28% failure rate. Other rates of failure include;
- Urologic operations at 22%
- Non-obstetric gynecologic surgeries at 5.98%
- General surgeries at 4.9%
- Vascular surgeries at 2.9%
- Pediatric surgeries at 1.1%
The most common cause of these anesthetic failures is insufficient analgesia, which leads to a failure rate of 32.9%.
These failure rates show that anesthesia errors are prevalent across medical facilities in the United States.
Causes of the High Failure Rates of Anesthesia
As mentioned, the most common cause of anesthetic failures is insufficient analgesia. Administering a lesser quantity of analgesia leads to the untimely expiration of the numbing. When this happens midway through the surgery, the patient suffers excruciating pain throughout the entire procedure or may sustain a serious injury.
Other anesthesia errors leading to anesthetic failure include:
- Delayed administration of anesthesia
- Using the wrong anesthesia type for a surgery
- Administering anesthesia with the wrong equipment type
- Overdosed application of anesthesia can lead to prolonged unconsciousness and even death in the worst cases
- The anesthesiologist or any surgical team member getting drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Failure of the anesthesiologist to monitor the critical signs of the patient
- Failing to study the medical history of the patient before administering anesthesia (this is a dangerous anesthesia error and leads to complications)
- Failing to conduct an anesthesia awareness that will inform the patient of precautions like fasting a few hours before the surgery
Dangers and Complications of Anesthesia Failures
When an anesthesia procedure goes wrong, there are consequences for the patient in the form of anesthesia injuries or other health complications. It gets worse when the anesthesiologist makes the mistake of forgetting the patient under the influence of the anesthesia even after the surgery due to an oversight. Some of the anesthesia complications include:
- Heart attack
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Blood clots
- Spinal cord injury
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excruciating pains
Who is Responsible for Anesthesia Errors and Failures?
Typically, the anesthesiologist is the approved medical professional to carry out anesthetic procedures on patients. While it might seem like the anesthesiologist will be the fall guy for all anesthesia errors, he won’t be the only one because he won’t be working alone. A preventable anesthesia error can come from any member of the anesthesiology team, led by the anesthesiologist.
Beyond the anesthesiology team, doctors, nurses, interns, and any member of the medical staff involved in the patient’s surgery can be indicted in the case. The mistakes are numerous and can come from just about anyone involved in the surgery.
Communication flaws, personal challenges of medical staff, negligence, and other factors can lead to costly mistakes. So, after a full investigation, the culprit will be fished out, sanctioned, or penalized, and the medical facility will be sued for damages.
What to Do If You are a Victim of Anesthesia Failure?
If you or a family member is among the victims of anesthesia failure and suffers any of the listed complications or common injuries, you can file a compensation claim. However, that’s only possible when anesthesia failure is considered medical malpractice. For it to be considered medical malpractice, the medical procedure must be thoroughly investigated. If it is found that the medical practitioner was negligent in his duties or didn’t carry out the medical process in line with the approved standard of care, then it passes for medical malpractice.
So, you will need an anesthesia malpractice attorney to supervise the investigation and fight for compensation. Medical malpractice, or anesthesia malpractice, in this case, is medical negligence on the part of the medical practitioner who should be held accountable for the anesthesia error.
An anesthesia malpractice attorney ensures victims of anesthesia get the best compensation possible through skilled legal representation.
Get the Best Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyer for your Case
If you’ve been injured or are suffering from failed anesthesia injuries caused by a medical professional, you deserve compensation because these complications will incur medical bills. Some can cause permanent injuries or complications. if you or your loved one survives it, and that’s not something you treat with kid’s gloves.
Get the best and most trusted legal representation for your anesthesia malpractice case when you contact Frischman and Rizza. We boast the best medical malpractice attorneys in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Here, you won’t get the service as a client but as a family member who’s been injured, so rest assured you’ll get the best compensation for your loss.
Contact us at (412) 291-9377 for a free consultation, and our experienced team of anesthesia malpractice attorneys will stand up for you.