Anesthesia Negligence


  • Failure to obtain complete and accurate history

The role of the anesthesiologist in a surgery begins well before the operation starts.  Failure to obtain a complete and accurate patient history and physical by the anesthesiologist may result in the administration of improper medications, failure to recognize a potentially difficult airway, or aspiration.  These errors could lead to allergic reactions, injuries to the airway, delays in intubation resulting in hypoxia, hypotension, or even death.  Injuries resulting from these errors may be considered medical negligence.


  • Induction of Anesthesia Errors

Immediately prior to the start of surgery the anesthesiologist is responsible for the delivery of the anesthetic.  There are several different routes that anesthesia can be delivered.  General anesthesia requires the placement of a tube into the patient’s windpipe.  Improper placement of the endotracheal tube may result in injuries to the airway, hypoxia, brain damage, or death.  Spinal or epidural anesthesia requires placement of a small catheter into the spinal canal.  Improper placement of this catheter may lead to nerve damage or paralysis from the waist down.  Regional anesthesia or “blocks” involve injecting areas around the nerves resulting in a large area or limb to go numb for the procedure.  Improper placement of these injections could result in permanent nerve damage or paralysis of the affected limb.  Local anesthesia temporarily numbs a small area of the body via sprays, creams, or minor injections.  Improper dosing of local anesthesia could lead to permanent numbness, skin injury, heart arrythmias, even death.  Errors leading to these injuries may be considered medical negligence.


  • Administration of Medication Errors

During an operation the anesthesiologist is responsible for the management and delivery of medications, oxygen, intravenous fluids, and blood products.  In addition, the anesthesia staff is also responsible for the monitoring of all operative activities such as urine output, blood loss, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.  Failure to closely and accurately follow these parameters could lead to dosage errors.  Additionally, failure to properly consider the patient’s condition, age, or body weight could lead to errors in medication dosing.  Improper administration of anesthesia, fluids, and gases could lead to inadequate oxygen delivery to the brain resulting in stroke, brain damage, permanent coma or death. 

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