Brain Damage Risks Associated with Anesthesia Errors
Just before undergoing elective or non-emergency surgery, you may have met with the anesthesiologist who would be administering medication and monitoring you while unconscious. You probably heard key phrases as the physician was discussing the risks, such as “slight chance” and “rare complications,” so you did not see cause for concern. However, an article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals a different story. Every year, anesthesia is listed as the underlying cause in around 34 deaths and a contributing factor in another 281 fatalities.
These statistics are not surprising when you consider the fact that the brain is vulnerable every time a patient is given general anesthesia. Mistakes can mean serious complications and brain damage, so you should discuss your legal options with a Florida anesthesia errors attorney if you or a loved one was affected. Some background information may also be helpful.
Types of Brain Damage Due to Anesthesiologist Negligence: Any type of medical mistake can lead to serious bodily harm, but there tends to be a higher risk of brain damage with anesthesia errors. In many cases, the problem is over-medication. Complications include:
- Permanent Brain Injuries: General anesthesia functions by slowing down essential processes of the human body, thereby removing the patient from a conscious state and dulling his or her senses. When breathing is slowed too much, the brain is does not receive sufficient oxygen. The end result can be permanent cognitive issues.
- Temporary Impairment: An anesthesiologist will usually mention that medication could lead to grogginess, blurred vision, and a feeling of being hungover from drinking. These symptoms are normal, unless they last for several days or weeks. Cognitive and mental problems are also cause for concern.
- Coma and Death: Physicians will insert a breathing tube when performing procedures in which patients are under general anesthesia, since their relaxed muscles prevent them from doing so on their own. Mistakes can cause the patient to suffocate, which can induce a coma or be deadly.
In addition, overdose of anesthesia can lead to other implications beyond brain damage. For one, too much medication can slow heart rate to the point of stoppage. Unless the anesthesiologist or a surgeon intervenes, the patient may go into cardiac arrest.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Anesthesia Mistakes: These errors fall under medical malpractice for purposes of liability, which means you may be able to recover damages if you or a loved one suffered bodily harm. In a successful case, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other types of losses.
Our Florida Anesthesia Errors Lawyers Can Explain Your Rights
Our Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. have extensive experience holding health care providers accountable for medical mistakes, including errors in administering anesthesia. We can assist with your medical malpractice claim, so please contact our firm to set up a free consultation. We can meet with you at our offices to discuss your legal options.