Oklahoma City Anesthesia Errors Lawyer
Since its debut in the mid-nineteenth century, anesthesia has helped millions and millions of sick patients and injury victims undergo life-saving surgeries that would otherwise prove impossible. However, the improper use of anesthesia can result in painful, disabling, and sometimes fatal complications, such as stroke, brain damage, or a collapsed lung.
If your spouse or relative suffered a preventable injury or medical complication due to an anesthesia error, you should talk to the Oklahoma City malpractice attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook about the legal options which may be available to your family. Our legal team has more than 75 years of combined experience holding negligent anesthesiologists accountable for the suffering and devastation caused by their carelessness. We are committed to fighting for maximum compensation on behalf of malpractice victims throughout the Oklahoma City area.
To set up a free legal consultation with Hasbrook & Hasbrook, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040. We will keep your information absolutely confidential.
Common Causes of Anesthesia Malpractice: Doctor Negligence and Human Error
While all medical procedures carry some risk of harm to the patient, doctors still have a responsibility to take precautions against foreseeable problems and complications. When a doctor, nurse, dentist, or anesthesiologist inflicts harm by making a careless mistake that should have been avoidable under the circumstances, the patient may be able to get compensated for expenses and hardships such as:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Lost earnings
- Medical bills
- Medical equipment and devices, such as wheelchairs or portable oxygen tanks
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
Safe and proper administration of anesthesia requires precision, focus, vigilance, and quick thinking in the event of an emergency. Without these factors in place, a normal situation can spiral out of control in a matter of minutes. When an anesthesiologist is inexperienced, fatigued, improperly supervised, or downright careless, dangerous errors can easily occur, such as:
- Administering the wrong type of anesthesia.
- Failure to avoid dangerous drug interactions.
- Failure to instruct a patient against eating or drinking prior to undergoing anesthesia.
- Failure to promptly reposition a patient who starts vomiting.
- Failure to properly count, check, sterilize, or use medical equipment.
- Failure to properly intubate a patient.
- Failure to recognize and respond to warning signs that a patient is entering a state of distress, such as vomiting, shivering, bleeding (hemorrhage), or hypoxia.
- Lack of preparedness for foreseeable emergencies (e.g. lacking resuscitation equipment).
- Making unnecessary delays in starting, stopping, or modifying treatment.
Patient Risks, Injuries, and Complications of Local and General Anesthesia and Sedation
According to a recent national study, approximately one out of every 100,000 anesthesia procedures result in death. The study found that, on average, anesthesia errors cause 34 deaths and contribute to 281 deaths every year in the United States, with more than 2,200 fatalities recorded over a seven-year period. Among the recorded fatalities:
- 867 occurred in hospitals
- 334 occurred in ambulatory/outpatient care
- 315 occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- 258 occurred at home or in residential settings
- 44 occurred in hospices
Male patients and elderly patients are at an increased risk, with elderly male patients in the highest risk group.
Some of the most common anesthesia complications include:
- Aspiration, which occurs when a fluid or foreign object enters the patient’s windpipe or lungs. Sedated patients must be monitored closely to ensure they do not accidentally inhale tooth fragments or other objects.
- Hypoxia, which occurs when the brain doesn’t receive adequate oxygen. In its early stages, hypoxia can cause patients to feel groggy, disoriented, confused, sleepy, and forgetful. As hypoxia progresses, the patient can slip into a coma, have seizures, and enter a state of respiratory distress. Hypoxia is a potentially fatal condition.
- Nerve damage, which occurs in approximately one in 1,000 patients who undergo general anesthetic. Symptoms of nerve damage can include:
- A sensation of being shocked
- A sensation of tightness, as if you are wearing a glove or sock
- Decreased blood pressure
- Limbs that feel locked, stiff, or unusually heavy
- Numbness or tingling
- Sharp pains
- Toxic reactions to a local anesthetic, which can occur within minutes or even seconds if an excessive dose is accidentally administered.
- Wrongful death of a patient. Among anesthesia deaths recorded from 1999 to 2005, about 4% involved local anesthesia while 11.5% involved general anesthesia or other uses. The most common causes of anesthesia-related death were:
- Anesthesia overdose
- Adverse effects of anesthesia, such as hypothermia, hyperthermia, or a collapsed lung
- Anesthesia complications during pregnancy and labor
- Improper intubation
The Experienced Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook Can Help Look Into Your Legal Matter
If your parent, child, or spouse was harmed by an anesthesia mistake, your family could be entitled to compensation for the resulting medical bills, income losses, pain and suffering, and other complications. Let the experienced attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook help you exercise your legal rights as an injury victim. Call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free, completely confidential consultation. No hour is too early or too late to call us, even on weekends. Our goal is to see that justice is served for your losses.