Anesthesia Errors and Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice Attorneys

When we are about to have surgery performed we make a lot of assumptions. We assume the surgeons are competent and know what they are doing. We assume the hospital uses all the best instruments and technology needed to perform the surgery. We assume the anesthesiologist knows the proper type and amount of anesthesia to administer so that we do not wake up during surgery and don’t have lingering side effects long after surgery.

But what if one of these assumptions proves wrong? What if complications arise because of the anesthesia? Is it considered medical malpractice? Who is liable — the hospital or the anesthesiologist? Talking about your case with a medical malpractice lawyer can help discover the answers to your questions.

How do you prove negligence and determine who is liable?

Proving medical negligence can be difficult. According to the courts, the definition of negligence is the failure of the health care provider to provide the appropriate amount of skill and care that another provider with the same specialty provides.

Your attorney will employ the services of an expert medical witness who will take into account the risk factors that were present before your surgery and look at any notes the anesthesiologist may have taken to attempt to determine why the incident occurred during your surgery. Another factor that has to be considered when determining if there was any negligence is called the complication rate of the particular kind of anesthesia administered during your surgery.

Is the anesthesiologist or the hospital liable?

  • The hospital is liable if the anesthesiologist is an employee. This is known as vicarious liability
  • If the anesthesia equipment failed during the surgery, the hospital may be negligent for not properly maintaining the equipment and the anesthesiologist would not be liable.
  • If the anesthesiologist is an independent contractor but works primarily at one hospital, the courts could decide that the anesthesiologist was more of an employee than a contractor and therefore the hospital could be held liable.
  • If it is determined that the anesthesiologist does work as an independent contractor and there was no equipment defect or failure than the doctor could be liable.

Here is a list of some of the possible injuries and complications that may arise when there is a problem with the anesthesia.

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Damage to a tooth as a result of the insertion of a breathing tube during surgery
  • Larynx damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain damage as a result of a lack of oxygen
  • Injury to nerves
  • Blood clots
  • Difficult breathing
  • Allergic reaction
  • Unusual pain after surgery
  • Heart attack
  • Waking up during surgery
  • Death

While this list looks terrifying, know that the serious side effects do not happen very often, while nausea and vomiting are pretty common.

Because proving negligence in these type of cases is complex, it is important that the attorney you hire is experienced in anesthesia cases. A medical malpractice attorney Longwood, FL relies on understands the legal intricacies involved in a medical malpractice case. They can meet with you to discuss the particulars of your case and direct you to your next steps.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at David & Philpot, PL for their insight into medical malpractice cases.