anesthesiologist making anesthesia erros on a patient who is on the operating table

When undergoing major surgery, patients expect their surgeon and anesthesiologist to use reasonable care during the surgery. Unfortunately, thousands of patients are injured annually due to anesthesia errors in the United States. When anesthesiologists act negligently or recklessly, patients can suffer serious health consequences or even death.

At Dell & Dean, PLLC, our Long Island medical malpractice attorneys are prepared to help you understand your rights. We have the experience and resources needed to carefully investigate your case and gather evidence of surgical errors, including anesthesia errors. If you or your loved one have been injured due to an anesthesia error in New York, contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

Administering Anesthesia Must Be Done with the Utmost Care

Anesthesiologists have a complex task when it comes to administering anesthesia. Before the surgery begins, the anesthesiologist must carefully consider the patient’s medical history and background to check for any allergies or medical conditions that could cause a serious reaction during the surgery. Anesthesiologists need to choose the correct type of medication and administer it in the correct dose at the right time. They need to administer a series of medications, each with a different purpose, including:

  • Relaxants to soften the patient’s muscle so the surgeon can access the area requiring surgery
  • Analgesics to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the procedure, and
  • Hypnotics to keep the patient unconscious throughout the procedure

An anesthesiologist needs to administer these medications in the exact quantity required. If the anesthesiologist administers too little of the drug that causes unconsciousness, the patient could wake up during the surgery and experience excruciating pain. 

On the other hand, if they administer too much of the medication, causing unconsciousness, the patient could experience harmful, debilitating side effects, including brain damage. Finally, if the anesthesiologist administers too little of the analgesic, the patient could still feel pain but be unable to tell the doctor due to the side effects of the hypnotics.

Common Examples of Anesthesia Errors

Many moving parts need to fall into place for a surgical procedure to be successful. For example, the physician treating you needs to have selected the appropriate procedure, and you need to be in sufficiently good health to recover from the surgery. Everyone in the operating room must use care and skill when fulfilling their roles in the surgery. 

When one aspect of surgery goes wrong because of a mistake, the patient can become seriously injured. Anesthesiologists are one of the most common medical professionals in the operating room. Their job is to ensure that the patient remains pain-free, relaxed, and unconscious during the entire surgery. When an anesthesiologist administers anesthesia incorrectly, or the doctor fails to monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure, you could suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. Some of the most common examples of anesthesia errors include the following:

  • Failure to adequately review the patient’s medical background
  • Incorrect anesthesia mixture
  • Incorrect dosage of anesthesia
  • Intubation errors and related injuries
  • Failure to manage and pay attention to the patient’s vital signs and oxygenation
  • Failure to communicate vital signs to the surgeon 

Injuries Caused by Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors can lead to life-altering injuries and death. One of the most common yet severe outcomes of anesthesia errors includes permanent brain damage. The brain tissue can become damaged when the patient experiences a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain from surgery due to anesthesia errors. 

Anesthesia awareness is another injury involving a patient being aware of the surgery and feeling pain during the operation but unable to move or speak. Anesthesia awareness can be highly traumatizing for patients and cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health diagnoses.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in New York

Anesthesiology errors that cause injuries are among many medical malpractice lawsuits. You will need to prove the elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit to obtain compensation. Your attorney can investigate your case and gather evidence proving that the anesthesiologist owed you a duty of care, negligently breached his or her duty, and caused your injuries. 

You will also need to provide evidence that the anesthesiologist’s negligence caused you to suffer compensable losses. Proving negligence in medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging. Your attorney must establish that the anesthesiologist engaged in inaction or emission that a prudent anesthesiologist would not have made in the same situation and that this act or a mission caused your injuries. The following types of damages are available in medical malpractice cases:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning capacity 
  • Costs of equipment in your household
  • Nursing help for recuperation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement resulting from injuries
  • Permanency of injury
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of opportunity for enjoyment of life 

How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim in New York?

In New York State, victims of medical malpractice only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation. In most cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is two and a half years from the date of the malpractice. There are some limited exceptions to this time limit, but in most cases, you only have two and a half years to file a claim. 

Discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible after your surgery can protect your right to file a claim. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require an extensive discovery process. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the sooner an attorney can investigate your case and develop a legal strategy.

Contact an Anesthesia Errors Attorney in New York 

It’s important that you don’t wait too long to discuss your injuries with an attorney. Suppose you or your loved one have been injured due to anesthesia errors or any other medical malpractice, the attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Contact the Long Island medical malpractice attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.