When you go to the hospital for a procedure that requires you to be unconscious during the process, we know it can be scary. You know that any surgery can have complications, but you also know you are in good hands. You have heard from the team of doctors and nurses who will be performing the procedure and are ready.

When they tell you to count backward from ten after putting the mask over your face, the last thing you expect is to wake up in worse condition than you were already in.

One of the most important people in the room with you will be the anesthesiologist. That person is there to ensure that you are comfortable and that you have a safe and pain-free surgery. They do this by administering local or general anesthesia, both of which require that the anesthesiologist ensure you are stable throughout the procedure.

If something goes wrong, you need to find out what happened. If you need an anesthesia malpractice attorney, you can count on The Weitz Firm to be by your side.

What Is It?

Anesthesia is otherwise known as a state of controlled, temporary loss of sensation or awareness that is induced strictly for medical purposes. Sometimes it includes analgesia, or relief from or prevention of pain, paralyzes like muscle relaxation, amnesia or loss of memory and even unconsciousness. Any patient under the effects of anesthesia is commonly referred to as anesthetized.

This type of medical application allows for the painless performance of procedures that would otherwise cause severe to intolerable pain for anyone without anesthesia. A handful of different types of anesthesia are generally used on a patient undergoing a medical procedure.

There are three kinds of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia is when you are actually put to sleep during a procedure. Basically, this form of anesthesia suppresses the central nervous system activity and results in unconsciousness and complete lack of sensation.
  • Local anesthesia involved numbing a part of the body to prevent pain during a procedure but does not put you to sleep. This is common with dental procedures. The central nervous system is suppressed to a lesser degree to inhibit anxiety and the creation of long-term memories without causing unconsciousness.
  • Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a larger part of the body so the procedure can be completed. An epidural, common in childbirth, is common regional anesthesia.

During anesthesia, the anesthesiologist is supposed to constantly monitor your vital signs for any signs of distress. The benefit of this type of anesthesia is, depending on the situation this may be used on its own which enables the patient to remain fully conscious or in a combination with other general anesthesia or sedation. Drugs are targeted at peripheral nerves to sedate a certain part of the body. The overall objective is to suppress all incoming sensations from nerves supplying the area of the block.

What makes anesthesia so unique is that it is not a direct means of treatment but instead enables others to either treat, diagnose or cure a painful or complex condition. Experts suggest that the best anesthetic is one with the lowest risk to the patient while still maintaining value in successfully completing the procedure. However, there are a few steps that need to be considered and evaluated fully in order to properly determine whether or not a potential patient is qualified for anesthesia. The pre-operative risk assessment is the first step that consists of an in-depth analysis of the medical history, physical examination, and lab tests of the patient. In doing this, the clinician is able to diagnose a person’s pre-operative physical status. Doctors want to minimize all anesthetic risks. The more detailed pre-operative medical history that is taken into serious consideration, the greater the probability of discovering any medical implications that may conflict with anesthesia. This includes genetic disorders, habits, like smoking and alcohol use, physical attributes that highlight weight, and furthermore any existing diseases.

What Can Go Wrong?

In studies, the following were found to cause anesthesia complications:

  • Overdose of anesthetics
  • Complications of anesthesia during pregnancy
  • Adverse effects of anesthetics in therapeutic use

Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, attributed to over 250,000 fatalities per year. That is just the number of deaths. Medical errors are far too common and upend too many lives.

We do not want to scare you with these numbers, but we want you to know that mistakes do happen. Anesthesiologists have one of the hardest jobs in medicine and they have so much to keep track of each day.

They are trained, but they do make mistakes.

Recovery

The time immediately following anesthesia is called emergence. It is mandatory to carefully monitor the patient because there is a small chance of complications. Side effects have been reported that include nausea, and vomiting, airway support, urinary retention, and hypotension. Other instances have demonstrated hypothermia and confusion which are common in the post-operative period. There is no need for too much concern as the body is adapting to a lack of muscle movement and heat production during the procedure.

As a medical professional it is important to remember that there are many circumstances when anesthesia needs to be adjusted for certain individuals. This is in large part due to the type of procedure being performed like cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, or even events surrounding extreme environments like trauma.

What You Can Do

If you think that something went wrong when you were under anesthesia, then you need to seek legal assistance. Medical malpractice cases are hard to prove, but that does not mean you should back down. At The Weitz Firm, you will find a team that is ready to help you every step of the way. From investigating your claim to going through every document, we will work to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. You need to get back on your feet, so let us help. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.

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