All surgeries and medical procedures that involve the use of anesthesia can pose potential health risks. The risk of complication is almost always expressed to the patient prior to surgery, and complications can occur from anesthesia even upon receiving the best possible medical care. However, every so often, an injury suffered by a patient due to anesthesia may stem from the improper handling of equipment or drugs from the anesthesiologist. When a patient suffers an adverse reaction after anesthesia, it is crucial to evaluate the standard of care of the anesthesiologist to determine if there was any malpractice. The Badgley Law Group in Orlando is familiar with cases involving anesthesia errors and can assist you in determining whether you have a medical malpractice claim.
The most common anesthesia malpractice claims according to medical researchers are:
- Teeth damage – 20.8 percent of the anesthesia medical malpractice claims.
- Death – 18.3 percent.
- Nerve damage – 13.5 percent
- Organ damage – 12.7 percent
- Pain -10.9 percent
- Cardiopulmonary arrest – 10.7 percent
Together, the claims for death and cardiopulmonary arrest are involved in almost one in four closed claims for anesthesia errors. To determine if an injury qualifies for a malpractice claim, an experienced malpractice attorney will explore the four elements below to determine validity. These elements are crucial to a establishing a medical malpractice claim:
- Duty to care for the patient. The anesthesiologist must have established a duty to care for the patient. This is done by meeting with the patient, reviewing medical history, and performing a physical exam, among other things. The anesthetist should discuss the options for the anesthetic care, including whether the patient is fit to be under anesthesia. An informed consent is signed by the patient to allow the anesthesiologist to carry out the plan in accordance to the doctor’s duty of care for the patient.
- Negligence happens if the anesthesiologist has failed in their duty to care, or has performed below the standard of care. In a medical malpractice claim, if the anesthesiologist is shown to have performed below the standard of care, they may be liable for damages to the patient.
- The plaintiff must prove the negligence was a proximate cause of the injury to the patient. In a lawsuit, an expert witness shall argue on how and why the negligence was linked or was not linked to the patient’s injuries.
- The injury or loss must be measured in monetary compensation to the plaintiff.
Complications can happen before, during, and after anesthesia. Most anesthesiologists will manage their patients at or above the standard of care. When the standard of care is breached due to medical malpractice, the physician may be sued for patient medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Medical Errors Can Occur During Surgery
Medical errors do occur, and this issue is a current very hot topic. A report detailing common anesthesia injuries shows that the most serious complications related to anesthesia as stated above are death, permanent brain damage, and nerve damage. More than 65 percent of anesthesiology malpractice claims are based on anesthesia administered before a surgical procedure. Common medical errors related to anesthesia include:
- Giving the incorrect dosage.
- Not intubating the patient properly.
- Not properly monitoring the patient.
- Not recognizing complications when they develop.
- Not monitoring the oxygen delivery to the patient.
- Not giving proper surgery preparation instructions.
The main origin of most medical malpractice claims is professional negligence. In some cases, it may be possible to hold the medical facility liable for the negligence that has occurred based on vicarious liability – if the anesthesiologist is employed by the hospital, the hospital will be liable for any negligence on the employee’s part. Alternatively, the hospital may be sued for negligent hiring and supervision – if the anesthesiologist is an independent contractor, the hospital may be held responsible.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice and you wish to seek legal counsel, then contact Badgley Law Group. Our medical malpractice attorney helps patients or families who have suffered from injuries or wrongful death involving medical negligence.
Why Hire an Experienced Orlando Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice lawsuit is different from other types of personal injury cases as they involve two areas of expertise, medicine and law. These cases are very complicated and require the knowledge and attention of a lawyer who is familiar both of these areas. When you choose our experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Orlando, you will be sure to receive assistance in reviewing the facts of your situation to determine whether or not you have a claim. Our team at the Badgley Law Group have handled many medical malpractice cases over the years and can answer your questions. Call us today for a consultation at 407-487-4154.