Doctors use anesthesia to help make your operation — and recovery — as painless as possible. But a mistake in administering anesthesia can result in added pain and recovery time for you.
Here are three common anesthesia errors that can cause problems for patients:
- Dosage errors: Supplying the right amount of sedative is important to a successful operation. If a patient receives too little anesthesia, they may experience pain during their procedure or even wake up in the middle of the operation. Too much anesthesia could lead to an overdose.
- Pain management errors: Doctors can only manage pain to a certain extent after an operation. Still, they should give you the best and safest option, so you can recover with minimal pain. Giving patients the wrong kind of pain medication — including topical anesthetics — can result in nausea, vomiting and chronic pain.
- IV control flow errors: If your operation requires an IV, doctors must monitor the flow rate of the anesthesia. If the rate is too slow, patients may experience discomfort or pain. If the rate is too fast and the patient receives too much at once, they may suffer from high blood pressure, headache, difficulty breathing or anxiety
Understanding the consequences
Anesthesia – like any type of psychoactive drug – is extremely dangerous if used improperly. A mistake in administration can result in serious damage to vital organs, including the heart and brain. It can also lead to spinal cord damage and paralysis. Anesthesia mistakes during childbirth could lead to injuries to the infant, such as cerebral palsy. In the worst case, inappropriate anesthesia administration could result in death.
What you can do
Communication is key when undergoing an operation. Talk to your doctor about the risks, safety protocols and effects of anesthesia. Discussing your previous experiences with anesthesia can help your doctor understand how your body might react.
Unfortunately, doctors don’t always care for their patients the way they should. If you suffer from improper anesthesia administration, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and collateral consequences. A medical malpractice attorney can help you learn more.