Anesthesia Error & Overdose Attorneys
For many people, undergoing any type of medical procedure that involves anesthesia can be a frightening experience. These worries are not without merit. The use of too much or too little anesthesia — or the wrong type of anesthesia — can carry devastating and possibly even fatal consequences.
In many cases, anesthesia errors are the result of negligence. Victims or their families may be able to file medical malpractice claims against the negligent medical professionals or institutions. The Serious Injury Law Group is dedicated to personal injury cases in Alabama and is capable of collecting the necessary evidence to prove medical negligence.
The anesthesia overdose attorneys at our firm are committed to seeing your case through to verdict. We will never accept a settlement that does not account for all of your past, present and future needs. Call or contact us online today to set up a free consultation that will allow our lawyers to provide a complete evaluation of your case.
The Role of Anesthesia in Medical Care
To produce anesthesia, doctors use drugs called anesthetics. Different types of anesthetic drugs have different effects. Some of the most common forms of anesthesia include:
- General Anesthesia — General anesthesia is basically a medically induced coma in which the anesthetics render a patient unresponsive and unconscious. General anesthesia is typically used for surgical procedures that would otherwise be impossible without it. General anesthetics may be administered intravenously (directly into the bloodstream) or inhaled as a gas. Intravenous anesthesia usually allows patients to return home sooner, while inhaled anesthetics can take longer to wear off.
- IV/Monitored Sedation — Intravenous sedation (IV sedation) and monitored anesthesia care (MAC) are considered safer alternatives to general anesthesia for minor surgical procedures. The level of sedation can vary in these procedures, ranging from a patient feeling minimal effects of drowsiness but still being able to speak to deep effects that leave patients unable to recall procedures.
- Regional Anesthesia — Regional anesthetics are used to block pain in larger areas of the body, such as spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, or everything below the waist during a cesarean section (C-section) child delivery.
- Local Anesthesia — Local anesthetics are used for a small, specific part of the body during relatively minor procedures. Dental surgery is one of the most common examples of local anesthesia with the focus often being a single tooth.
Numerous factors can dictate the type of anesthetics a patient will receive, including their medical history, the type of surgery being performed and a surgeon’s anesthesia preference.
How Anesthesia Overdoses Can Occur
Many complications can arise when anesthesia is not administered properly. Some of the most common mistakes involved in the administration of anesthetics include but are not limited to:
- Incorrect dosage — Anesthesia dosage errors often occur in the middle of a surgical procedure, and some of the most common causes of such mistakes are inexperience with anesthetics, lack of familiarity with equipment or simple negligence. Incorrect anesthesia doses can result in seizures, strokes or death.
- Injected at improper rate — The anesthetic effect is often greatest in the patients who receive faster injections. Faster injections can also impact a patient’s blood pressure.
- Wrong type of anesthetic — When the incorrect form of anesthesia is administered, a patient may awaken before a surgical procedure is complete (commonly referred to as anesthesia awareness). In some cases, doctors may change medical records in order to claim they used the correct anesthetics.
- Failure to monitor patient and equipment — It can be difficult for medical professionals to guarantee that a patient is completely unaware of what is going on while under anesthesia, but there are many different trends that can be observed such as heart rate and blood pressure. Medical care providers may be liable for anesthesia errors when there were clear signs of a problem.
- Improper ventilation — Most modern anesthesia ventilators have a double circuit, bellow design or a single circuit piston configuration, and ventilators can be classified as either mechanical thumbs, minute volume dividers, bag squeezers or intermittent blowers based on their mechanism of action. Ventilator malfunctions can be the result of mechanical or human errors.
- Failure to properly prepare patient before surgery — A patient may be asked to take certain medications before being administered anesthetics. Preoperative medical assessments are used to reduce a patient’s surgical and anesthetic risks, and the failure to take certain preoperative steps can lead to devastating complications.
- Improper intubation — Intubation involves the placement of a tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe) so drugs can be administered. Even when placed correctly, the tube may not remain in place.
Serious Injury Law Group understands that anesthesia is a very sensitive procedure. Our attorneys know how to collect the necessary evidence and prove a medical professional or institution’s negligence if a mistake was made that caused the patient to suffer harm.
How an Anesthesia Overdose Harms Patients
The possible complications that can arise from anesthesia errors can vary depending on the type of mistake involved. Less serious instances may result only in itching, nausea, or sore throats, but the most severe cases can potentially cause death.
Some of the other possible complications that may stem from anesthesia errors include:
- Brain damage
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Postoperative delirium
- Muscle aches
- Nerve injury.
People who have suffered serious injuries because of anesthesia errors can face perilous roads to recovery. Many victims will incur overwhelming medical expenses. Certain types of injuries can also lead to difficulty returning to work or possibly even to being unable to maintain any gainful employment. On top of these issues, victims must also live with tremendous pain and suffering.
After any kind of anesthesia error, a victim may be able to hold a medical care provider responsible for their negligence. The experienced attorneys of Serious Injury Law Group will fight to help you pursue justice and full accountability for all parties responsible for the harm in your case.
Our Birmingham Anesthesia Overdose Lawyers Will Fight for You
If you or your loved one was the victim of any kind of anesthesia error in Alabama, you could be eligible to take legal action to protect yourself and your family. Serious Injury Law Group represents clients in Birmingham and the surrounding area, and we’re here to help make sure that patients who suffer harm pursue the justice they deserve.
Our firm will work tirelessly to hold a negligent anesthesiologist and any other responsible parties accountable. We understand the tremendous challenges involved in medical malpractice claims and will work with qualified expert witnesses to establish that a professional’s conduct violated the standard of care that was owed to you.
Serious Injury Law Group will offer a free consultation so you can have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions. You can schedule your own consultation when you call or contact us online today. Our lawyers make it a point to return every client phone call within 24 hours, so you are never left in the dark about where your case stands.