Anesthesiologists are an essential part of every major surgery; operations simply can’t go on without them. And just as a surgical error could be disastrous to the patient, an anesthesia mistake could be just as harmful or deadly. Anesthesiologists are doctors. They go to medical school and earn a degree as a medical doctor (M.D.) or a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), the same as the surgeon making the incision and performing the operation. As medical professionals, anesthesiologists are held to the standard expected of other anesthesiologists of similar training and education. If they fail to perform their duties according to that standard, they can and should be held liable in medical malpractice for the harm they caused through their negligence or mistakes.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Bertling Law Group hold all medical professionals accountable for injuries caused by their avoidable errors, including anesthesiologists. When something goes wrong in the operating room, there is only a very small handful of people who know what happened, and most likely they aren’t talking about it. It takes a skilled and experienced malpractice lawyer working with a qualified medical expert to review the case, determine whether malpractice was at play, and hold those responsible accountable for the harm they have caused. This is what we do every day at Bertling Law Group in hospitals across Southern California and in VA and military hospitals nationwide.
If you or a loved one were harmed due to an anesthesia error, we’ll find the answers to your questions about what went wrong. We’ll also fight to get maximum compensation for your injuries and work to prevent future harm of the same sort from happening to others. These are the reasons attorney Peter Bertling founded Bertling Law Group. Call him today if you suspect anesthesia negligence caused you harm in California or nationwide as a veteran or active duty service member.
How Do Anesthesiologists Commit Malpractice?
Anesthesia is either local, regional or general. With local or regional anesthesia, anesthetics are applied to the area to be operated on, either topically or via injection, or both. This allows the doctor to perform the surgery, such as a skin biopsy, without any pain for the patient. The doctor performing the operation is usually the one giving the anesthetic as well, and usually the most that goes wrong is an allergic reaction to the anesthetic.
General anesthesia is a different matter altogether. Here, the patient is rendered unconscious and kept unconscious throughout the procedure, and is later revived with no memory of the operation. General anesthesia must be performed by a qualified anesthesiologist, who is involved in administering the anesthetic, monitoring the patient during the operation, and reviving the patient at the conclusion of the procedure as necessary. General anesthesia errors can be painful, traumatizing, and cause permanent injury or death.
When performing general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will administer a mix of drugs belonging to the following three classes:
Analgesics – These drugs will dull sensation or prevent the patient from experiencing any pain during the operation.
Relaxants – These drugs will relax the muscles in the body so the surgeon can gain access to the surgery site. Relaxants also allow the doctor or anesthesiologist to insert a breathing tube, known as intubation.
Hypnotics – These drugs sedate the patients to a point of near or total unconsciousness so that they are unaware of the operation while it is going on.
It’s up to the anesthesiologist to know the proper mix and dosage of drugs to deliver, based on the patient’s weight and other factors. If the anesthesiologist delivers too little anesthetic, the patient could be conscious of the procedure or experience tremendous pain yet be unable to move or communicate this fact to the doctor. If too much anesthetic is given, the patient could experience side effects that range from nausea to seizures to permanent brain damage or a fatal stopping of the heart.
In addition to administering anesthetics, the anesthesiologist is also responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs and the anesthesiology equipment to make sure the patient is not experiencing a negative reaction to the drugs or other complications. Failure to monitor the patient can create a life-threatening situation.
When hospitals overbook the operating room, they might encourage the anesthesiologist to lighten the anesthesia and get the patient moved out before the patient is ready, creating serious side effects. The hospital’s profit motive to schedule more surgeries should never be allowed to get in the way of proper patient care.
Get Answers and Help Regarding Anesthesia Negligence
When patients come out of the OR worse off than when they went in, or if they develop a new condition they didn’t have before, something went wrong. It might be malpractice and it might not, but you deserve to know and to hold any party liable if they were responsible for the injury. Bertling Law Group can help you figure out what went wrong and take the necessary steps to get compensation for malpractice and prevent these errors from happening to others in the future.
If you or a loved one may have suffered an injury due to anesthesia negligence or other medical malpractice in a California hospital or surgery center or in a VA facility or military hospital nationwide, call Bertling Law Group at 844-295-7558 for a free consultation. There’s no fee if we don’t recover compensation on your behalf.