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4 common anesthesia errors

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Anesthesia is a key component of many medical procedures, allowing patients to undergo surgery without feeling pain. However, when anesthesia errors occur, the consequences can range from temporary complications to permanent damage or even death.

There are several common anesthesia errors that may occur.

1. Dosage errors

One of the most common anesthesia errors is administering the incorrect dosage of anesthetic drugs. This can happen when an anesthesiologist miscalculates the amount needed based on a patient’s weight, age or medical history. Overdoses can lead to complications such as respiratory depression, while underdoses may result in the patient waking up during surgery.

2. Failure to monitor vital signs

During surgery, anesthesiologists are responsible for monitoring a patient’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. Failure to properly monitor these signs can lead to serious complications, such as brain damage or cardiac arrest, if not detected and addressed promptly.

3. Inadequate preoperative evaluation

Before surgery, anesthesiologists should conduct a thorough preoperative evaluation to assess a patient’s medical history, allergies and current medications. Failing to do so can result in administering anesthetics that interact negatively with a patient’s existing conditions or medications, leading to adverse reactions.

4. Improper intubation

Intubation is the process of inserting a tube into a patient’s airway to assist with breathing during surgery. If done improperly, it can cause damage to the throat, vocal cords or esophagus. In severe cases, improper intubation can lead to oxygen deprivation, brain damage or even death.

Anesthesia errors make up 2.7% of medical malpractice claims. By understanding the most common types and taking proactive steps to minimize your risk, you can help ensure a safer surgical experience.