Plenty of things can go wrong during a surgical operation despite major technological advances in medicine in recent decades. Surgeons sometimes perform procedures on the wrong patient or operate on the wrong body part. They might also leave objects behind in a patient.
There are so many things that can go wrong during and right after a procedure that people often overlook the single biggest risk to their health related to a surgery. The anesthesia that someone requires before an operation is one of the most dangerous aspects of surgical care.
The difference between enough of a medication to render someone insensitive and to stop their heart may be minimal, so even small mistakes can lead to major medical concerns.
Anesthesia errors are a common concern
Anesthesiologists must attend very rigorous educational programs and complete an internship with someone already helping patients dull their sense of pain or temporarily end their consciousness for a surgical procedure. Despite the training, errors in anesthesia administration are quite common.
Researchers were able to identify 17,116 reported anesthesia errors across the United States when looking at data from between 2007 and 2014. Reports indicated that 131 of the people affected by those mistakes died. Of course, this data relies on self-reported errors made in medical settings, so there could be far more anesthesia errors that occur without medical professionals realizing what happened.
Some of the top causes of anesthesia errors include mixing up medications, administering the wrong dose and failing to check for family history or prior allergic reactions that could influence the best drugs to give a patient.
Even when an anesthesia error isn’t fatal, it could drastically affect someone’s recovery from their procedure, affect their health or even leave them severely traumatized, as might be the case of someone who experienced anesthesia awareness.
Anesthesia errors are often medical malpractice
Those given the wrong drug or an improper dose of anesthesia may have large medical expenses to cover and also more lost wages than they would otherwise have had to address. A medical malpractice claim brought against the anesthesiologist or possibly the facility where the surgery occurred might lead to financial compensation for the affected patient and also appropriate professional consequences for the care providers who made mistakes that endangered someone’s health.
Recognizing and appropriately responding to common forms of medical malpractice, including anesthesia errors, can help patients demand a higher standard of care at modern medical facilities.