Over $850 Million in Verdicts and Settlements
AV Preeminent badge
Super Lawyers badge
Avvo Rating badge
Best Law Firms badge
TNTL badge

Anesthesia Malpractice

The use of anesthesia across America's operating rooms is common–place. The administration of anesthesia allows physicians to place a patient into an unconscious or semi–conscious state so that a surgical procedure can take place without exposing the patient to pain. As with most medical procedures, however, serious mistakes can occur during the administration of anesthesia. Because anesthesia is designed to "affect" the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) during a surgery, when errors occur, the results can be devastating to the patient, including but not limited to: loss of motor function (walking, moving arms/legs); paralysis; nerve damage, loss of vision, brain damage, and even death. In today's highly specialized medical community, the administration of anesthesia is no longer only occurring in hospitals, but rather, routinely takes place in physician's offices, outpatient centers, dental offices or cosmetic surgery clinics, to name a few. This frequency increases the chances of potential errors. Some common types of anesthesia errors include: failure to monitor the condition/vital signs of a patient who has been placed under anesthetic, improper placement of breathing tubes that causes physical injury to throat or lungs; improper placement of breathing tubes that prevents an adequate flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in brain damage; inadequate anesthetic levels that cause a patient to awaken during surgery and/or feel conscious pain; improper positioning of a patient under anesthetic that results in disabling nerve or muscle injuries; allergic reactions to anesthetic drugs; and the use of improperly functioning anesthetic equipment.

Generally speaking, most people don't experience problems with general anesthesia during surgical procedures.  Risk factors that can increase a patient's risk of developing a complication include, but are not limited to:  co-morbidities involving your heart, lungs or kidneys; medications that increase bleeding like aspirin or coumadin, heavy alcohol use, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, sleep apnea, and of course, a prior history of adverse reaction to anesthesia.   Adverse reactions to anesthesia include temporary paralysis, stroke, infection of lungs, heart attacks and death.   Recent studies suggest that the incidence of complications stemming from the administration of anesthesia is roughly 1-2/1000. 

As a result of these complications, anesthesiologists must fully inform patients of the possible complications associated with anesthesia.  Patients, in turn, should inform the anesthesiologist of any drugs they are taking and fully inform him of your medical history including allergies, health conditions and history  with anesthesia.  Prior to surgery, you may be asked to stop taking medications such as warfarin (Coumadin), ibuprofen or aspirin or any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot if you start bleeding. 

Client Reviews
“Great Lawyer and staff, very diligent and organized about gathering facts and information. Keeps you informed every step of the way. Very helpful with explaining the process in layman's terms and offering sound advice. Successful negotiations with settling the suit. Overall very satisfied with the results and work done by Andy and his team. I would highly recommend.” Christine
“Andy is an incredible person and lawyer. He studies the case and works hard preparing. He takes over the courtroom, but always very professional and courteous, but all eye and ear are on his every word when he speaks, and presence his well thought out case. I was scared, knowing nothing about the legal profession, but Andy stuck with me every step of the way... " Kathy
“Andy represented me and my firm many years ago in a very complex civil litigation matter. I knew he was smart (Duke Law School) and I knew he was successful (several $100 million recoveries), but I was astounded how hard he works. He spends the time to read every word on every page of every document. This may sound like something that should be expected of a every lawyer... " Steve