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Is Anesthesia Aspiration a Sign of Physician Negligence?


When consulting with your health care providers about undergoing elective surgery to address a medical condition, you probably discussed the details regarding anesthesia. Though generally safe, there are always risks involved when you are unconscious and many of your body’s functions slow down. One of the most extreme dangers is the development of a respiratory complication termed anesthesia aspiration, where bodily fluids or materials enter the patient’s lungs. According to the National Institutes of Health, this life-threatening, potentially fatal issue occurs in approximately 1 out of every 2,000 to 3,000 procedures that require anesthesia.

If you suffered harm because of anesthesia aspiration or complications after the adverse event, it is possible that physician error was a cause or contributing factor. As such, it is important to consult with a Florida anesthesia errors attorney about your options. An overview may also be useful. 

Understanding Anesthesia Aspiration: This condition may occur because of the body’s response to general anesthesia when undergoing a major surgery, particularly thoracic surgery – i.e., any procedure pertaining to the chest. Anesthesia aspiration happens when you inhale your own gastric contents, either in fluid or solid form. Because you are unconscious, you cannot clear your lungs; with functionality extremely slowed, your body cannot eliminate the obstruction on its own. The situation leads to hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain.

While a patient who suffers anesthesia aspiration is at risk of serious harm when the event occurs, there are also implications in the aftermath. Almost half of all patients who aspirate during a procedure will develop pneumonia, pneumonitis, or related lung damage. 

Anesthesia Aspiration and Physician Negligence: Being a serious, possibly fatal medical condition, anesthesiologists are well-aware of the implications and importance of preventing aspiration. Even before a procedure, a physician must implement advanced anesthetic practices and identify risk factors that could cause a patient to inhale gastric contents. For instance, a person should never be prepped for surgery if he or she:

  • Complains of nausea;
  • Presents with a bloated or distended abdomen; or,
  • Recently consumed food or drink.

Besides going forward with a procedure in the presence of these factors, there are other ways an anesthesiologist may negligently cause anesthesia aspiration. The physician should constantly monitor the patient and consider inserting a feeding tube, so material from the stomach cannot be inhaled. When anesthesia aspiration is linked to negligence, in the sense that the doctor’s actions deviated from medically accepted standards, you may qualify to pursue a medical malpractice claim. It is possible to recover for such losses as medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many others.

Our Florida Anesthesia Errors Lawyer Can Advise You on Your Options 

If you or a loved one experienced anesthesia aspiration due to health care provider negligence, it is critical to discuss your legal remedies with an experienced attorney. Our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. focuses on medical malpractice cases, so we can advise you and assist with the process. For more information, please contact our offices to set up a no-cost case analysis with a Miami anesthesia error lawyer.



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