Common Errors Made by Anesthesiologists
Although anesthesia has played an instrumental role in making surgery bearable for patients, administering the drugs is a complicated process, that if done improperly, can lead to devastating injuries and even death. Hospitals, physicians, and anesthesiologists can be held liable for their failure to abide by current medical standards when it comes to administering anesthesia and monitoring patients, so if you or a loved one were recently injured due to an anesthesia error, it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
One of the most difficult aspects of administering anesthesia is ensuring that a patient receives the correct dosage, which involves complex calculations and the assessment of a number of different factors, including:
- The patient’s weight;
- The serum concentration of the drug, which in turn depends on the site and method of administration;
- The length and complexity of the procedure; and
- The patient’s overall health.
The most common reasons for dosage errors include a lack of familiarity with medical equipment, insufficient experience or improper training, and carelessness. Unfortunately, dosage errors are often not discovered until the middle of a procedure, at which point, serious complications may be unavoidable.
Failing to Control IV Flow Rate
The rate at which anesthetic drugs enter a person’s system is also a crucial part of administering anesthesia, so failing to control a patient’s IV flow rate can cause serious complications. An overload of the drug, for instance, can lead to anxiety, breathing difficulties, and high blood pressure, while a flow rate that is too low could affect a patient’s ability to remain unconscious during the procedure. Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of IV rate failures.
Patients are also at risk of the mistaken flushing of anesthetic drugs through their IV at the end of a procedure. For example, a neuromuscular blocking drug could accidentally be administered when the intravenous line is flushed, leading to cardiac arrest. This is an especially high risk for children.
Post-Operative Management Errors
Managing a patient’s pain does not end when that individual leaves the operating room. Instead, anesthesiologists are tasked with managing pain both during the operation and immediately after. Poor timing when administering medication can have serious consequences for patients who may suffer from chronic regional pain syndrome and vomiting.
Failing to Prevent an Allergic Reaction
A surprisingly high number of patients have allergic reactions to anesthesia and unfortunately, most people are unaware of the allergy until the reaction occurs. There are steps, however, that anesthesiologists can take, such as conducting tests beforehand, that can help ensure that a person will not have an adverse reaction. Proper monitoring is also important for this reason, as recognizing the early signs of an allergy can make all the difference in reversing its effects before they become permanent.
Schedule a Free Case Review
Please call 954-566-9919 today to speak with one of the Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at Boone & Davis about your own patient history and whether you have a valid claim for compensation. A member of our team can be reached at 954-566-9919 or via online message.