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Washington, DC Anesthesia Errors Lawyer

Did You Suffer an Injury as a Result of an Anesthesia Error in Washington, DC?

Anesthesia is an umbrella term for the various medications that a doctor administers prior to surgery or a medical procedure. There are different types of anesthesia that range from rendering a patient unconscious to providing localized pain relief. When mistakes are made with any type of anesthesia, patients can suffer physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

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Can I File a Claim For an Anesthesia Mistake?

Mistakes do happen, but if your injury was the result of medical negligence, there are legal options available to you. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of an anesthesia error, you do have the option to file a medical malpractice claim against the medical professionals who caused the error.

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To figure out if you have an anesthesia error claim, you can meet with our Washington, DC anesthesia error lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC to find out if you qualify for compensation. With medical experts on staff, we can investigate your anesthesia medical malpractice claim and determine what legal steps are available to you.

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What Are the Common Types of Anesthesia?

There are four types of anesthesia that may be administered to a patient during a surgical procedure or certain medical tests:

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is used for complex surgical procedures. It renders the patient unconscious and prevents the brain from feeling any pain signals. It uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses called anesthetics. While under, the patient’s vital functions need to be monitored. Sometimes, both an anesthesiologist and a certified registered nurse anesthetist work as a team to administer general anesthesia.

Conscious Sedation

Also known as procedural sedation, this type of anesthesia uses a combination of medicines to help the patient relax while blocking any pain caused during a medical procedure. Patients may stay awake while under conscious sedation. The level of sedation varies — from minimal to fairly deep.

Regional Anesthesia

Regional anesthesia uses local anesthetics to numb a large portion of the patient’s body while allowing them to remain awake and alert. This type of medication is given through a catheter or an injection. The types of regional anesthesia include spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, and nerve blocks.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is a one-time injection that numbs a small area of the body. It is used for minor procedures like stitches, repairing a bone, or performing a biopsy. The patient remains awake throughout the procedure.

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What are Common Anesthesia Errors?

Many things can go wrong when an anesthesiologist does not do their job correctly. Some of the more common anesthesia errors happen when:

Some of these mistakes will lead to serious or lifelong complications for the patient.

What Are the Consequences of Anesthesia Errors?

The consequences of anesthesia errors are wide-ranging.

Brain and Cardiac Damage

When a patient is under general anesthesia, any changes in body temperature, oxygen level, heart rate, as well as blood pressure must be noted and addressed. If a patient is not adequately monitored or does not receive the proper care, they may experience a lack of oxygen which can lead to a stroke, brain damage, or cardiac arrest. One medical study found that one in 2,000 to 3,000 patients will aspirate while under general anesthesia. Half of those patients will develop a related lung injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries

In some cases, when the anesthesiologist performs epidural or spinal anesthesia, the needle may puncture the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord. As a result, the patient experiences a cerebrospinal fluid leak (CFL). Conservative treatments for these leaks are not always successful. Some patients must undergo surgery to repair a CFL after an epidural. Spinal anesthesia, if administered incorrectly, can cause nerve damage. The patient can lose feeling or movement in parts of their lower body, which can take weeks or months to recover from.

Waking Up During Surgery (Anesthesia Awareness)

Another consequence of a general anesthesia mistake is that the patient remains conscious or they become conscious during the surgery. As a result, these patients remember their surgery or parts of their surgery. Some will also feel pressure or pain at the surgical site. For every 1,000 procedures, one to two patients will wake up during surgery. These patients often report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after waking up from surgery.

Why Do Anesthesia Errors Happen?

The bottom line is, mistakes happen when the anesthesiologist administering anesthesia is careless, inattentive, and doesn’t do their job correctly. Unfortunately, patients pay the price when the anesthesiologist:

  • does not communicate effectively with the surgeon or other operating room staff,
  • distracted either by a staff member or an electronic device,
  • did not consult the patient’s prior medical history or drug allergy information,
  • failed to monitor the patient’s vitals,
  • either did not recognize when the patient aspirated or failed to respond quickly; or
  • approves a patient for discharge from the post-surgical unit too soon

If you or a family member has experienced an anesthesia error, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Anesthesia Errors in DC

How Often Do Medical Malpractice Anesthesia Errors Occur?

The short answer is, too often. One study published in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management analyzed 607 closed anesthesia claims that were made to a large national malpractice insurer between 2007 and 2012. This study found that the most frequent injuries were:

These types of injuries are avoidable. Understanding how and why anesthesia errors occur is important to prevent them in the first place.

Why Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Washington, DC For an Anesthesia Error?

It is extremely difficult for a patient to bring forth an anesthesia error lawsuit on their own. Some doctors won’t willingly speak out against another medical professional. These are complex cases and you need the experience and expertise of a Washington, DC medical malpractice attorney.
To successfully win an anesthesia mistake lawsuit, you must be able to prove:

How Much is the Average Anesthesia Error Settlement?

A medical malpractice settlement of this type typically covers:

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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