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There are many possible ways for a surgery to go wrong-a surgeon's hands or tools may be contaminated, the wrong body part may be operated on, or a sponge could be left in the patient after the surgical opening is closed-but when anesthesia is improperly administered, the patient is harmed before she even reaches the operating table.

There are several types of anesthesia: General anesthesia, where a patient is made completely unconscious; regional anesthesia, where a portion of the body is rendered numb, such as the spinal area; and local anesthesia, which makes only one small part of the body numb.

Types of Anesthesia Errors

There are several different ways that the administration of anesthesia or monitoring of someone who has received anesthesia can go wrong. When an individual is being put under general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist must first calculate the appropriate amount of anesthesia based on the size and weight of the patient, as well as the length of the surgery. If that amount is miscalculated, or if one component of the drug mixture the patient receives is deficient, bad results can occur.

If a patient receives an excess of anesthesia, then the heart rate and blood pressure may slow to dangerously low levels, resulting in possible brain damage, or even death. If too little anesthesia is administered, a patient may wake up and become fully conscious during a surgery, or could become only partially conscious, such that they are paralyzed from being able to move any of their muscles, but can feel and see the things happening to them.

Anesthesiologists are obligated to not only exercise reasonable care while calculating the quantity of drugs to administer to a patient, but also to closely monitor the patient's vital signs to observe possible changes in heart rate and blood pressure that may be resulting from developing complications, and also to ensure that the patient is receiving an appropriate amount of oxygen while unconscious. Doctors must also warn patients of the risks of anesthesia and advise them on how to prepare for surgery by not eating or drinking for a period before surgery. Finally, anesthesiologists must take care not to chip teeth while intubating a patient, a surprisingly common complaint of patients.

If you or a loved one believe you may have been the victim of an anesthesia error resulting in medical malpractice, contact the Morristown medical malpractice attorneys at Smith & Doran for a free consultation on your possible claim, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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Morristown, NJ 07960

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