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Georgia’s 4 main types of anesthesia errors

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2022 | blog, Medical Malpractice

Before procedures in Georgia, it is common to have the anesthetist in charge of your medication during the procedure to go over the risks and confirm vital information. However, anesthesia errors can potentially cause dangerous effects, like heart attacks and strokes. In addition, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you have sustained harm because of incorrect dosages, incorrect information, prolonged treatments or inadequate follow-up instructions.

1. Incorrect dosage

The correct dosage of anesthesia isn’t likely to cause severe side effects. If you receive a dose that’s too high, you might experience problems with your heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing and other bodily functions due to the system toxicity. Small doses can traumatize you by not completely numbing you to the pain, otherwise known as anesthesia awareness, a situation where you are aware in the middle of the procedure. It’s possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for anesthesia awareness because it’s a traumatic experience that shouldn’t occur with a proper dosage.

2. Pre-operation

Mistakes could occur before the treatment. For example, medical staff may write incorrect information in the patient’s file, leading to the wrong type or amount of drug. Doctors must carefully consider a patient’s allergies, weight, current medications and pre-existing conditions. People who have a critical illness typically need a smaller dose of anesthesia because standard doses would be too risky. In this situation, the anesthetist would inform you of the risk of waking and is not considered negligence and, therefore, not eligible for malpractice.

3. Prolonged treatments

Even local anesthesia, like spinal epidurals, must be monitored to prevent unnecessary time with numbed extremities. If the medication drip continues for longer than necessary, it can cause a prolonged recovery. Requirements after receiving local anesthesia often include no driving or operating heavy machinery for over 24 hours, and you must be accompanied for at least 12 hours by a competent adult who can watch for signs of allergic reaction.

4. Poor follow-up care

A follow-up appointment is usually made immediately after a procedure. Still, patients should have instructions, communication avenues, and specific follow-up directions before leaving the facility where the operation took place. Without written instructions, the physician has failed to provide adequate follow-up care, even if the first follow-up appointment is in less than 24 hours. Education should include wound care, infection indications, medication administration and comfort care.

Anesthesia errors usually involve incorrect dosages, the wrong type of drug, clerical mistakes, prolonged treatments and inadequate follow-up directions. Therefore, monitoring your health after medical procedures with anesthesia is essential to determine if there is an element of malpractice at work.