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When Anesthesia Errors Are Medical Malpractice

Most patients who undergo a surgical procedure feel anxious beforehand. No operation is ever guaranteed to be a complete success and there are always risks involved. Patients can check the records and reputation of their surgeon and the hospital, and really proactive patients have been known to write reminders, such as “This Leg Is Fine,” to prevent a wrong surgical site error from occurring. But most people do not think about the anesthesiologist on the team, even though anesthesia errors can cause serious injury or death.

The anesthesiologist is responsible for monitoring the patient before, during and after surgery and ensuring that the correct level of sedation is maintained throughout the procedure. Anesthesiologists who deviate from the standard of care or neglect to follow correct procedures are liable for the resulting harm to the patient, just like any other healthcare professional. The most common anesthesia errors involve medication dosage, not intubating or intubating improperly, or failure to maintain a steady supply of oxygen to the patient. These mistakes can cause brain damage, heart attack or stroke, damage to the throat, coma or death.

Patients can take these steps to help avoid problems with receiving anesthesia:

  • Request alternatives to general anesthesia if possible
  • Do not eat anything the day before the surgery
  • Inform the medical team of any family history indicating a bad reaction to anesthesia
  • Meet with your anesthesiologist before the operation to go over procedures and ask questions

You have the legal right to ask for compensation if you sustained an injury because a medical professional neglected to provide the standard duty of care. A competent Indiana medical malpractice lawyer can assess the validity of your claim and help you build a strong case so you receive the compensation you are entitled to.