When a patient undergoes surgery, they put not only their trust in the surgeon’s hands, they also trust the anesthesiologist to make the correct decisions before and during the procedure. If these doctors fail to act with the appropriate standard of care, it can have devastating consequences for the patient.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury, such as permanent brain damage, as a result of an anesthesia error, you may be able to pursue legal action. At Corsiglia, McMahon, & Allard, L.L.P., our anesthesia malpractice lawyers provide compassionate and responsive representation. Contact our San Jose law firm for a free consultation to discuss your legal options regarding an anesthesia malpractice claim.Can I Sue a Doctor or Hospital for an Anesthesia Injury?
Few patients undergo surgery or other treatments with the thought that anesthesia may cause injuries. However, anesthesia is the cause or a contributing factor in more than 300 deaths in the United States every year. Injection of too much anesthesia is also a threat to patient health. According to a study of 2,211 anesthesia-related deaths, more than 46 percent of patient fatalities are caused by overdose. In addition, more than 42 percent involved therapeutic anesthetics, and nearly 4 percent involved pregnancy and childbirth. There are many types of serious anesthesia injuries, including:
- Paresthesia, including numbness, burning or tingling sensation, or continual pain
- Lung collapse
- Nerve damage or paralysis
- Visual disturbances or blindness
- Brain damage, stroke, or heart attack
When anesthesia is negligently administered, the injured patient or surviving family members may be able to sue the anesthesiologist or other negligent doctors for medical malpractice. Anesthesia malpractice claims can sometimes be difficult to pursue. But once your condition is fully diagnosed our legal team will work to ensure you’re adequately compensated for your injuries. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience and work diligently with medical, vocational, and other experts to help build a solid case.Types of Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia can be local, meaning it is injected into one area of the body and blocks pain only to that area, or it can be general throughout the body. Both types of administration may cause injuries, especially when they are done negligently. There are many types of anesthesia errors that may give rise to a medical malpractice claim, such as:
- Anesthesia overdose, insufficient anesthetics, or delayed anesthesia
- Anesthesia errors or epidural injury during pregnancy, labor, or the 6-week postpartum recovery period
- Failure to gather enough information during a pre-operative exam, such as history of heart murmur, recent illness, or prior adverse reaction
- Failure to properly monitor a patient, including observing allergic reaction or insufficient oxygenation
- Hospital malpractice
- Negligent therapeutic use and resulting injury
- Improper post-anesthesia care that leads to infections
- Improper patient discharge instructions
Local anesthesia toxicity often occurs when anesthesia is administered incorrectly; sometimes it’s administered properly but it has an unintended adverse reaction in the body. There are many symptoms which may occur to demonstrate that you or a loved one were injured because of anesthesia toxicity, including:
- Numbness or seizures
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Inability to breathe and other breathing problems
When doctors are properly monitoring a patient under anesthesia, they can react quickly to prevent and minimize adverse reactions, such as calling for a medical team, ventilating with oxygen, and properly controlling seizures. Adverse anesthesia reactions are potentially deadly, so it is extremely important for doctors to do a thorough pre-evaluation, closely monitor a patient, and administer the right dose and type of anesthesia at the right time. Working alongside medical experts, our lawyers evaluate your case to determine if anesthesiologists were negligent at any point during your treatment.Too Little or Delayed Anesthesia and Waking During Surgery
Often when we think of anesthesia injuries we think of an overdose or improper injection site as the cause. However, using an insufficient dosage of anesthesia, administering anesthesia too early so that it wears off, or delaying anesthesia can also cause serious injury and mental anguish.
Anesthesia awareness is one side effect of this type of negligence, although it can also be caused by factors other than malpractice. During anesthesia awareness, the patient wakes up during surgery. The patient may even feel significant pain but be unable to communicate with doctors. This can further result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can cause nightmares, anxiety, and thoughts of death.
The pain, suffering, and emotional distress of PTSD and anesthesia awareness are serious. If you woke up during surgery and are having difficulty coping with the memories, do not hesitate to seek advice from your doctor and contact an attorney who can help you evaluate your harm for a potential medical negligence claim.Brain Injury Caused by Anesthesia
There are many ways in which brain injuries may be traced back to anesthesia use. For example, anesthetic drugs or drug interactions may cause toxicity in patients that leads to brain damage or dysfunction. Anesthesia can also injure other organs in the body and can cause liver and kidney failure which, in turn, can lead to brain damage. Failure to fully monitor patients for the duration of the surgery and recovery can result in oxygen deprivation, which can also cause serious brain injury. Anesthesia-caused seizures or strokes can also damage the brain.
It can often take quite a bit of time for doctors to determine the full nature and extent of a person’s brain injuries. Our legal team works tirelessly alongside medical experts to fully evaluate anesthesia brain injuries so that injured patients or grieving family members can financially recover from their harm.Birth Injuries
Having a baby should be a joyous occasion, but when an anesthesiologist is negligent, both mother and baby can suffer serious harm. Anesthesia birth injuries may be caused by a variety of factors, such as improper epidural placement, lack of preparation for emergencies such as oxygen deprivation, and even anesthesia delay.
Nerve damage is one of the most common epidural injuries to mothers. Infants may suffer, as well, especially when low blood pressure or other anesthesia side effects result in a lack of oxygen to the fetus. Our attorneys understand how emotionally devastating these injuries can be. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing compassionate support while helping you obtain the compensation you need and deserve from negligent doctors.Contact Experienced California Lawyers After an Anesthesia Injury
Complications and injuries caused by negligent anesthesiologists’ impact not only the victim but the victim’s family. Our experienced medical negligence attorneys will make sure the parties that caused your injuries are held responsible. We seek substantial compensation for our clients and aggressively pursue justice on their behalf. Contact us online or call our San Jose-based medical injury lawyers at (408) 289-1417 to schedule a free initial consultation today.