Anesthesia Mistakes Can Result in Brain Damage

Blog,Medical Malpractice • April 15, 2020

Having to undergo an invasive surgery can be terrifying enough without the extra concern of getting brain damage due to anesthesia errors. When mistakes with anesthesia take place, the brain can suffer a permanent injury due to a lack of oxygen and other nutrients. The brain requires a constant supply of oxygenated blood in order to function properly. Without adequate oxygen levels, cells in the brain will start to dye off in just a matter of minutes. 

Taking on a physician or medical center can be an intimidating task because the medical profession has teams of defense attorneys with the sole duty of protecting it from liability for injury claims. With the help of a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer, you can seek compensation if you or a loved one has suffered brain damage resulting from an anesthesia error. 

Types of Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia Mistakes Can Result in Brain DamageWhen it comes to anesthesia, there is little room for error. The patient receives drugs that leave them unconscious so that he or she is asleep during an invasive procedure such as surgery. Altering a person’s state of consciousness is an extremely hazardous undertaking. Medical errors result in about 250,000 deaths in the United States each year, effectively making healthcare errors the third leading cause of death nationwide, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. 

Some of the most common types of mistakes involving anesthesia include: 

  • Too much or too little anesthesia. Without enough of the drugs, the patient can wake up and feel pain during the procedure yet wouldn’t be able to communicate the problem. Too much of the drugs can result in the patient to stop breathing or even to have a heart attack or stroke, any of which can potentially interrupt the flow of oxygen to the brain. 
  • Neglecting to administer a steady flow of oxygen in the correct concentration for the patient to breathe while he is under anesthesia.
  • Lack of proper monitoring of the patient during anesthesia, which can cause a delay in the discovery of any potential concerns until after permanent brain damage has already taken place.
  • Administering anesthesia to a patient who has an allergy to a component of the anesthesia or that interacts with other drugs. 
  • Neglecting to inform the patient about vital instructions concerning things such as not eating or drinking for a certain number of hours before the procedure.

These are just some of the possible examples and the many things that could possibly go wrong when administering anesthesia, leaving the patient with brain injury. 

Causes of Anesthesia Mistakes

In order to deliver anesthesia correctly, there are many moving parts involved, from the drug manufacturer to the pharmacy that prepares the vails to the anesthesiologist who is administering the dosage, to the equipment used in the surgical suite. It just takes a breakdown at one point in the process can cause dire consequences. 

  • Dosing errors can occur when the anesthesiologist is in a rush, negligent, or reckless. The medical facility or surgery center pharmacy can put the wrong chemicals into the vials that are meant for and dispensed as anesthesia drugs. The pharmacy can possibly mislabel the dosage, for instance, by putting 900 milligrams into vials marked as containing 50 mg. The anesthesiologist might make a mistake due to their own inexperience.
  • Malfunctioning equipment can result in the patient receiving too much of the anesthesia drugs or too little oxygen. 
  • Understaffing can cause patients to be unattended for unacceptable periods of time.
  • A lack of safety measures or failure to follow existing protocols can increase the risk of errors. 

The study found that the high rate of fatalities resulting from medical errors was due to systemic issues, such as a lack of safety nets and protocols, which led to many critical errors. 

Schedule a consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in New Jersey to discuss your case. 

Medical Malpractice Injuries in New Jersey

When we seek treatment at a medical facility from a trusted physician, the last thing we expect to be seriously injured. We place our trust in these medical professionals and even put our lives in their hands. We believe that they will do whatever they can to help us get better or recover from our illnesses. Sadly, everyone is vulnerable to making mistakes, even those who are trusted with our own health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, mistakes made by physicians and health care providers can have truly catastrophic consequences for their patients who are often left with serious or life-threatening injuries. 

Despite the tremendous level of trust placed in these officials and institutions, medical errors are extremely common, accounting for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. In fact, medical errors have quickly risen to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, very few victims of medical malpractice ever seek compensation for their injuries, with less than 2.9 percent of victims ever pursuing a claim. This means that many victims of medical malpractice are left to suffer from their injuries without the compensation they deserve. You shouldn’t let this happen to you if you find yourself the victim of medical malpractice. In the event that you or a loved one is injured by a trusted health care professional, you may be able to pursue rightful compensation by contacting a qualified medical malpractice attorney in New Jersey

The team of personal injury lawyers at Brady Reilly & Cardoso, LLC can help you protect your rights after being unfairly injured at the hands of a health care professional. We have helped the people of New Jersey recover after an accident since 1965. In our nearly 50 years of practice, our attorneys have established a reputation for excellence and a record of results. We have an accomplished track record helping injured parties obtain fair compensation for their injuries after an accident. Contact our law offices today at (201) 997- 0030 to see how we can help you and get you back on track to recovery.