When doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, they promise to work hard to protect the health of their patients. Unfortunately, doctors are only human, and sometimes they make mistakes. One of the most serious mistakes they can make involves the administration of anesthesia. Anesthesia errors, which may involve local anesthesia, general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and dissociative anesthesia, are among the most common forms of medical negligence in the United States.
Anesthesia errors include:
- Administering too little of a drug (anesthetic awareness)
- Administering too much of a drug (anesthetic overdose)
- Anesthetic equipment malfunction or failure
- Injecting anesthesia at the wrong rate
- Delayed delivery of anesthesia
- Delivering the wrong anesthetic drug
- Failing to properly monitor the patient
- Improper reversal of the anesthetic state
Anesthesiologists have an extremely important job – to calculate the correct amount of an anesthetic drug based on a person’s weight, overall health, and the type of procedure they will undergo, and to administer the drug accordingly. Because there are so many factors that an anesthesiologist must consider, it is no surprise that there is so much room for error. When a medical error arises from negligence and results in serious injury or death to a patient, the patient and/or his or her family may have a medical malpractice claim.
Potential complications of anesthesia error include:
- Heart attack
- Nerve injury
- Blood clots/embolism
- Brain damage
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Respiratory difficulty
- Allergic reaction
- Damage to larynx
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anesthesia awareness (in which the patient is conscious but unable to move or communicate during their surgery)
- Stroke (potentially leading to lasting brain damage)
Determining Liability in Anesthesia Error Cases
In order to prove medical negligence, it must be shown that the doctor performed an act or omission that deviates from the accepted standard of medical care – in other words, the doctor acted in a manner inconsistent with how another doctor reasonably would have acted in the same situation. Proving this usually requires the testimony of an expert medical witness.
If the anesthesiologist is employed by the hospital, the hospital can be held liable for any negligence committed by their employee. Similarly, if the anesthesiologist was an independent contractor, the hospital may still be liable for negligent hiring and supervision of the doctor. In cases involving an equipment failure, the hospital may be held responsible for failing to properly maintain and repair its equipment.
Contact a Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
The Florida Law Group is an experienced medical malpractice law firm that has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for injured people throughout Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of an anesthesiologist, you should immediately contact a Tampa medical malpractice attorney at The Florida Law Group to discuss your options for legal recourse. We are prepared to offer you a free assessment of your potential case, so don’t delay in giving us a call. You may be eligible for substantial compensation for your losses, but you must act quickly to ensure that the statute of limitations does not pass.