Philadelphia Anesthesia Error Attorneys
In-patient or outpatient medical procedures require doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to administer anesthesia. Anesthesiologists and nurses ensure that patients receive the proper dosage of anesthesia medication and monitor their vital signs and responses after the anesthesia injection or application. Sometimes medical professionals may make an anesthesia error that may cause a patient to experience pain, discomfort, a serious health condition and even death.
If you or a loved one was harmed by an anesthesia error, contact MyPhillyLawyer today at (866) 920-0352 for a free case evaluation by an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney.
What Is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a medication given to a patient to prevent them from feeling pain during surgery or another medical procedure. It may be administered in the form of pills, gas, liquid injections or creams. The doctor, or sometimes the patient, chooses the type of anesthesia to use for the procedure. Four categories of anesthesia are general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, sedation and local anesthesia.
General anesthesia renders patients unconscious. Patients may receive the anesthesia by swallowing pills, inhaling it through a breathing tube or mask, or intravenously.
Regional anesthesia is an injection administered to an area of the body. Given before surgery, the medication numbs the area, so the patient does not feel pain there.
Sedation occurs when anesthesia is given by pill or IV tube. It makes the patient feel drowsy and relaxed. The amount of sedation given to the patient depends on the medical procedure the patient is undergoing.
Local anesthesia, by injection or cream application, is applied to numb small areas of the body. For dental procedures, wart or mole removals, stitches, or minor outpatient surgeries, local anesthesia is used for pain relief and numbness.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists set the basic standards for every step of the anesthesia process: pre-anesthesia, during anesthesia and post-anesthesia.
Before the patient receives anesthesia, the doctor must:
- Review the patient’s medical record and speak to the patient about his medical history;
- Order the necessary tests for the anesthesia care;
- Order the appropriate medications; and
- Document in the medical chart.
During anesthesia, the anesthesiologist must remain in the room with the patient and continuously monitor the patient’s vital signs, oxygen levels, ventilation, circulation and temperature.
After the patient comes off of the anesthesia, they must be given post-anesthesia care and management. The patient must be monitored, initially evaluated and re-evaluated to keep track of their condition until they are discharged from the medical facility.
Anesthesia errors may arise when the doctor administers the wrong medication or improper dosage. Another error that occurs is the doctor or another medical professional’s failure to inquire about or document the patient’s allergies, current medications, and medical conditions. Such information is vital in determining what form of anesthesia to give to the patient. If the doctor fails to properly monitor the patient while under anesthesia or post-anesthesia, the patient may suffer life-threatening medical issues.
Legal Consequences of Anesthesia Errors
Anesthesia errors are a form of medical malpractice that occurs due to the negligence of a medical professional. Pennsylvania law defines medical malpractice as a deviation from the standards accepted by a medical or healthcare professional that causes injury to a patient.
Under Pennsylvania law, the patient or deceased patient’s surviving family has two years from the date of the medical malpractice to file a lawsuit. The patient must prove every element of medical malpractice to find the anesthesiologist or other medical professional is liable for the anesthesia error. Specifically, the patient must be able to show the following:
- The doctor or medical professional had a duty owed to the patient;
- The doctor or medical professional breached the duty owed to the patient;
- The breach was the legal cause of the harm the patient suffered; and
- The patient suffered damages because of the harm caused by the doctor or medical professional.
Hiring an Anesthesia Error Attorney
Medical malpractice cases due to anesthesia errors may involve complex legal and medical information. Lawsuits are time-consuming and have time-sensitive deadlines that require constant attention and availability. Let an experienced and knowledgeable Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney handle your case. Contact MyPhillyLawyer today at (866) 920-0352 for a free case evaluation.