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The Impact of Anesthesia Errors

Oct 11, 2023

Anesthesia is used to prevent you from feeling pain during surgery or other medical procedures. It is a crucial part of many surgeries, but it can also carry significant risks. Anesthesiologist malpractice during a surgical procedure can cause high blood pressure, nerve damage, and even death. Medical professionals should know what type of anesthesia to use and follow the applicable standard of care to prevent harm to their patients.


Many anesthesia mistakes happen because doctors fail to monitor your vital signs or commit other common medical errors. An anesthesia malpractice lawyer at The Spence Law Firm is highly experienced with these cases and knows how to help. Schedule a consultation to learn about how we can seek compensation for you.

Physical Complications and Health Risks

Anesthesiology malpractice can lead to severe health risks and complications. These can affect your life in profound ways, including the inability to work, take care of your family, and enjoy the life you are used to. You may even suffer the loss of a loved one from anesthesia accidents.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Issues

Anesthesia errors can lead to breathing problems or even stop a person's breathing altogether. It can create long-term shortness of breath, airway obstructions, or even hypoventilation where a patient breathes inadequately during surgery. It may also cause aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs, which can be fatal. This can lead to oxygen deprivation, which may cause brain damage or death.

Anesthesia mistakes can also cause cardiovascular issues. These might include high blood pressure, arrhythmias, hypotension, or even cardiac arrest. Cardiovascular symptoms may last for a short time following surgery or may become long-term complications. 

Brain Damage

Medication errors or other anesthesia mistakes can cause serious brain damage. This damage often results from associated respiratory issues and hypoxia where the brain receives an inadequate oxygen supply. The anesthesia medication itself may cause brain damage as well and lead to symptoms such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating following surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Loss of sensation in some regions of the body
  • Cognitive deficiencies

These effects are often more pronounced in elderly populations, especially if they have preexisting cognitive conditions. For all patients, brain damage is an extremely serious symptom that may be compensable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Risk of Heart Attack

Alongside the many cardiovascular risks of anesthesia is the risk of a heart attack. A heart attack is a life-threatening medical incident when blood flow from the heart is blocked or the heart cannot get enough oxygen. A heart attack may also lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating.

According to one study, up to 37 of every 160 cardiac arrests were related to anesthesia. Heart attacks can lead to severe symptoms for patients, including insufficient oxygen to the brain, long-term heart tissue damage, continued arrhythmias, and more. A heart attack may even lead to your loved one's death, affecting your life in countless ways.

Allergic Reactions

Some patients are allergic to anesthesia medication or its components. Each patient is different, and the severity of an allergic reaction can also differ greatly. Some patients may be slightly sensitive and suffer minor symptoms, such as itchiness or discomfort. Allergy may also lead to symptoms such as:

  • Rash
  • Mild shortness of breath
  • Hives
  • Cough
  • Minor swelling around the lips, eyes, or face

For some patients, anaphylaxis may occur. This is a severe allergic reaction to the anesthesia medication and it can be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis can lead to:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Complete closure of airways
  • Severely low blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Respiratory failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Arrhythmia

A responsible anesthesiologist reviews your medical history and discusses the risks of an allergic reaction. Sadly, many medical professionals fail to complete this step and you suffer the consequences.

Immediate and Long-Term Consequences

Anesthesia errors by your medical team can result in both short-term and long-term consequences for you or your entire family. Immediate consequences of an anesthesia error often include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore throat and a hoarse voice
  • Anesthesia awareness
  • Shivering and chills
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Itching
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness
  • Bladder problems

The long-term consequences of anesthesia accidents can be much more severe. These may include:

  • Postoperative delierum
  • Postoperative cognitive dysfunction
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Death

The side effects you suffer could depend on the type of anesthesia your doctor orders. For example, local or regional anesthesia is less likely to cause serious side effects. General anesthesia is more likely to lead to both immediate and long-term consequences. An anesthesia errors lawyer can analyze what you underwent and how it caused your injuries.

The most serious long-term consequence is death. You may lose a loved one because of a doctor's error. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one's death is caused by anesthesiology malpractice. 

What To Do If You Were Affected by an Anesthesia Error

You can file an anesthesia malpractice lawsuit if medical errors or medication errors harmed you, or if you received the wrong type of anesthesia. Doctors often prescribe the incorrect dosage, the wrong type of anesthesia, or commit some other common anesthesia error that harms you. When this happens, you have rights that you can protect. To protect your rights, you should:

  • Keep all records of your medical bills and any costs
  • Retain all medical records that show the anesthesia treatment you received
  • Document all communications with doctors or other medical professionals
  • Get treatment for your injuries
  • Talk to an attorney about your case

You should speak with an anesthesia malpractice attorney to get the help you need. An experienced lawyer can help you with anesthesia lawsuit settlements or pursue financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. 

Get Legal Advice From Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Seek legal advice from the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at The Spence Law Firm for help with anesthesia errors. Our highly experienced legal team will fight against powerful hospitals, doctors, and their legal teams to seek the financial compensation you deserve. We can help you by filing a medical malpractice, wrongful death, or anesthesia awareness lawsuit on your behalf.

Contact us today for a consultation on your case. We want to help you during this difficult time.

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