By: Lawrence J. Buckfire, President & Lead Trial Attorney
Medical malpractice lawyers often file lawsuits against hospitals and anesthesiologists when a patient suffers injury due to a medical error. These errors can result in permanent brain damage and even death. Many of these injuries are preventable with a proper pre-surgery evaluation and proper monitoring during the procedure.
While there are potential risks involved in every surgical procedure, the risks associated with anesthesia are generally lower than other known complications. Typically, a pre-evaluation is done by the anesthesiologist to obtain an accurate medical history and determine the best course to follow for the administration of anesthesia drugs. This helps decide if there are any anticipated problems or issues that might arise during the procedure.
Just prior to the procedure, a CRNA and the anesthesiologist meet with the patient to again review the procedure. It is necessary to confirm the existence of any potential allergic reactions or other conditions that may adversely the patient during the procedure or post-operatively. For high-risk patients, increased vigilance in monitoring may be required as well.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances when a patient suffers an anesthesia-related injury. These injuries can be related to a medical error, but sometimes occur even when the physicians do everything properly before and during the procedure. Complications can occur even with the best provided medical care.
The most common anesthesia errors during a medical procedure:
- Abnormal reaction to drugs
- Failure to properly monitor the patient during the surgery
- Use of the wrong anesthesia medication
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia during the procedure
- Improper intubation by the anesthesiologist
When a patient suffers an injury or dies during surgery from an anesthesia mistake, there is a basis to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. These cases allege that the medical providers were negligent in their care of the patient and the error caused a serious injury or death. Both of these elements must be proven in order to achieve a successful outcome in the case.
It is necessary to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review the records to determine if there is a meritorious case. Most skilled attorneys are able to initially screen the case for merit from their own review. But ultimately, a medical expert is required to provide an opinion on medical negligence and the resulting cause of the injury or harm.
If a medical expert determines the case is meritorious, the next step is often to file a lawsuit. Many states require formal written notice of the claim to all medical providers prior to the filing of the suit and some states even require that a panel first approve the case for filing. Most of these cases are vigorously defended by the doctors and hospitals so it is essential to have a strong and credible expert witness to support the claim made in the lawsuit.
These lawsuits demand compensation for the harms and losses caused by medical negligence. For a brain injury or other incapacitating condition, settlements seek monetary compensation for the physical suffering, mental anguish, and disability caused by the condition. Suits also demand payment of medical bills, lost earnings, and other financial losses incurred by the patient.
In the event of death, the family members can file a wrongful death case. These cases demand compensation for the loss of the loved one by family members. They also demand damages for loss of future earnings, financial support, and other financial losses.