Researchers, as per a study published by the National Institutes of Health, have determined that thousands of patients in the United States get affected by errors in administering anesthesia each year. Florida law affords victims the opportunity to seek financial compensation for their injuries and losses caused by preventable anesthesia errors. The dedicated Miami medical malpractice attorneys at The Alvarez Law Firm, who have been through the legal trenches before, will tenaciously fight for your right to maximum compensation and hold the negligent anesthesiologist, registered anesthetic nurse, and other members of the anesthesia team liable for your injuries.

How does Anesthesia Medication Work?

Anesthesia refers to a medically induced temporary state, which results in the patient’s inability to feel pain. Anesthesia can cause temporary amnesia, loss of responsiveness, decreased stress response, and loss of skeletal muscle reflexes. There may be one or more drugs used to induce the desired response, making the job of an anesthesiologist complicated and delicate.

You are probably aware that anesthesia is a critical part of any surgical procedure if you or someone you love has ever had surgery.  There are three broad types of anesthesia administered in Florida hospitals and medical centers:

  • General anesthesia: This type of anesthesia renders the patient unconscious throughout the surgery.
  • Regional anesthesia: This type of anesthesia focuses on a specific subset of nerves that may or may not put you to sleep. It is also known as an epidural or nerve block. 
  • Local anesthesia: This type of anesthesia numbs a specific area of tissue for the surgery.

There are multiple obvious benefits to anesthesia. Pertaining to this, it also carries great risks. Any anesthesia error made through the carelessness or negligence of an operating room professional can result in serious consequences, including coma, paralysis, and even death. 

Common Anesthesia Errors in Florida

Anesthesia errors come in several different forms and may be caused by a wide range of factors, including defective drugs and equipment. Unfortunately, the primary cause of anesthesia errors is due to the incompetence or negligence of one or more medical care providers. In cases where the error is caused by a medical professional, the patient and their family can file a claim to recover damages. 
Common incidences of anesthesia errors include:

  • Administering too high of a dose
  • Administering too little of a dose, resulting in anesthesia awareness
  • Delayed delivery of anesthesia
  • Failure to prevent drug interactions with prescription medications
  • Administering the wrong anesthesia drug
  • Administering anesthesia to a patient with allergies
  • Failing to administer oxygen or properly monitor the patient
  • Failing to provide the patient with proper instructions, such as limiting liquid and food intake
  • Using defective medical equipment and devices during anesthetic administration
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Effects of Anesthesia Errors on Patients

Closed medical malpractice claims were examined by the American Society of Anesthesiologists to improve the standards of anesthesiology. They reported that respiratory issues were the most common cause of injury and death. 45% of the cases examined consisted of respiratory issues leading to brain damage and eventual death of the patient. Anesthesia errors can cause the following:

  • Tinnitus or a ringing in the ear
  • Confusion, blurred vision, and dizziness
  • Abnormal pulse or heart arrhythmia
  • Organ or brain damage
  • Heart function problems
  • Nerve, vein, or artery damage
  • Inadequate oxygen supply or asphyxia
  • Birth defects
  • Blood pressure complications
  • Spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Stroke or seizures
  • Coma and death
Healthcare worker providing anesthesia to patient

What is Anesthesia Awareness?

Anesthesia awareness occurs when a too-low dose of the anesthetic drug is administered prior to the medical procedure. It’s also known as unintended intra-operative awareness. The patient essentially remains awake and aware during the procedure.

Based on this, because the surgery may also involve the administration of medications that temporarily relax the muscles or paralyze the body, the patient may be unable to speak or move in an attempt to notify the operative team. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly common in patients that suffered from anesthesia awareness.

    Liability in Anesthesia Errors in Florida

    Anesthesiologists are part of the medical team and are held to the same standard of care as the treating doctors and surgeons. They are required to exercise the same level of diligence and professional competence as is the norm in their field of medicine. The anesthesiologist is usually held responsible for the mistakes or errors caused by the anesthesia team.

    But the operating surgeon, nurse, healthcare facility, and other medical staff members may share some part of the responsibility. Administration of anesthesia usually involves nurses, surgeons, dentists, anesthesiologists, and nurse anesthetists. It’s critical to understand that every anesthesia error cannot be considered medical malpractice. It takes a knowledgeable attorney to identify the potential grounds for an anesthesia error lawsuit. 

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    Our Top Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyers Have the Experience to Take on Large Insurance Companies. Get a Strong Legal Representation to Maximize Your Compensation.

    If you or a loved one was injured because of an anesthesia error, The Alvarez Law Firm can help. We will leave no stone unturned to collect evidence and build a robust case for the maximum financial compensation that you deserve. Our dedication, knowledge, and resources give us the edge required to win multi-million-dollar settlements. To set up your complimentary consultation with our legal team, call us today at 305-444-7675 or reach us online.

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