Anesthesia, when administered properly, can be crucial for successful medical procedures. Doctors don’t have to worry about their patients squirming with pain on the operating table. Patients can undergo complicated surgeries that can end up saving their lives. However, the use of anesthesia is not without risk. Mistakes can happen, often leaving victims with a whole new set of medical challenges. Here are three common ways anesthesia errors can occur.
1. Errors involving medical records
Sometimes, a doctor may make handwritten notes in a patient’s chart. We all know doctors aren’t known for their meticulous penmanship. If an anesthesiologist cannot make out what a note says and doesn’t perform any follow-up, a patient can suffer serious harm.
Mistakes also happen if an anesthesiologist is rushed or otherwise doesn’t take enough time to review medical records in detail. It’s also crucial for an anesthesiologist to take particular note of any underlying medical conditions, past medical history, a patient’s height and weight, and any allergies.
2. Failing to administer a proper dose
The administration of anesthesia is a balancing act. If a patient doesn’t receive enough anesthesia, there is a risk that they could wake up during the procedure or feel pain. In some cases, a patient may be aware of what’s going on but cannot speak or move. If a patient receives too much anesthesia, it could be fatal. Anesthesiologists must walk this tightrope with particular care.
3. Failing to monitor
Anesthesiologists and other members of the medical team must remain constantly vigilant. If a patient displays any signs of distress, immediate action needs to be taken. Constant monitoring of a patient’s vital signs is a must. Doing so enables the medical team to address potential issues before they become a serious problem.
Anesthesia errors can lead to serious medical complications, including stroke and cardiac arrest. You should discuss your legal options with a skilled professional if you or a loved one has suffered harm due to an anesthesia error.