The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine recently asked readers to decide the most important article published by the Journal in its 200-year history. The doctors chose an article from 1846 describing the first successful uses of ether in general anesthesia.
Anesthesia has made much of modern medicine possible. Unfortunately, in instances where there is a poor standard of medical care or negligence, it can also cause injury. Negligence may occur in some of the following examples: wrong dosage, wrong drug, administering drugs to an allergy patient, faulty operation of machinery, faulty equipment, failure to monitor and act on changes in patient vital signs, administering of anesthesia too late, and faulty or failure to provide instructions to a patient regarding operation procedure.
Here are some of the symptoms and after-effects of anesthesia errors:
Anesthesia awareness – some patients may have a vague recollection of being awake and feeling pain, while others may be fully conscious during surgery, feeling and completely remembering the pain they had to endure. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is not uncommon for victims of this anesthesia error.
Post-Surgical Complications – symptoms of anesthesia errors post-surgery could be as minimal as a sore or dry throat, or as lasting as chronic back pain, most commonly due to epidural and spinal anesthesia errors. In the worst cases, post-surgical complications have caused disfigurement, paralysis, or death.
Anesthesia allergies – while not as common as anesthesia awareness or post-surgical complications, the range of effects of an anesthesia allergy can be as minimal as a rash to as life-threatening as heart or lung failure.
Even if patients are aware that something went wrong during the procedure or the recovery, they might not know the cause nor would they have any reason to suspect that an anesthesia mistake caused, contributed to or compounded the injury. The most severe effects of anesthesia errors can have a permanent effect on your life and you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help make the connection between an injury of this kind and the actual source of it.