Medical Malpractice Anesthesia Errors, Accidents, Injury and Malpractice

  1. Anesthesia refers to the medical practice which temporarily removes bodily sensation and pain. Despite medical advances in the use of anesthesia, complications can still arise during surgery and may cause injury and sometimes death in severe cases. In some instances, these accidents could have been avoided and are usually the result of medical malpractice.

    Anesthesia Accident Statistics and Mortality Rate

    With the advances made in modern medicine, there has been a significant decrease in the number of anesthesia related deaths over the past 30 years. It has been reported that the anesthesia mortality rate has reportedly dropped from one in 10,000 to one in 250,000. Anesthesia related accidents and fatalities occur at roughly the same rate in hospital operating rooms and medical offices and at a slightly lower rate in dental offices.

    How Anesthesia Related Accidents and Injuries Occur

    Anesthesia related accidents and fatalities can occur in a variety of ways, in addition to the direct administration of anesthesia. Malpractice related to the use of anesthesia may include the following:
    • Failure by an anesthesiologist to perform a proper pre-surgical check for a patient’s medical conditions or allergies to the drugs used
    • An improper examination or diagnosis by an anesthesiologist
    • Negligent or inadequate pre-operative care
    • An incorrect type of anesthesia was administered
    • An incorrect amount of the correct type of anesthesia was administered
    • Inadequate monitoring while the patient was under anesthesia (such as negligence in tracking blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate)
    • Negligent or inadequate post-operative care

    While most medical malpractice cases deal with an anesthesiologist who was negligent, it is also common that another medical practitioner may have been responsible for an accident or fatality. Practitioners would include medical staff such as a doctor, surgeon, nurse, dentist or dental assistant. In addition, anesthesia may be administered by certified registered nurses and not limited to an anesthesiologist.

    Anesthesia Related Injuries

    Common post-surgical reactions to anesthesia include the following vomiting, nausea, sore throat and sensitivity to incisional pain. By themselves, these reactions to anesthesia do not indicate that malpractice has occurred or that there is any abnormal situation. When an accident or error occurs relating to the administration of anesthesia, it may result in serious, harmful effects such as:
    • Nerve damage
    • Paralysis
    • Memory loss
    • Brain damage
    • Death

    Legal Advice, Lawyers and Lawsuits

    While it is fortunate that an anesthesia related accidents are generally rare, it is important to know how to act when misfortune arises. Anesthesia related injuries are complex in nature. Negligence that occurs around the operating room among fellow medical practitioners is usually not as simple to identify and prove. The nature of the matter may also require the use of medical specialists. In the event of an anesthesia related accident or injury, it is usually best to seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who will be able to provide expert legal advice.
    Health, Medical & Social:
    Medical Malpractice

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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