An anesthesiologist or anesthetist is a medical doctor trained in the medical field of anesthesiology to administer anesthesia to a patient before a surgical or medical procedure. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, there are approximately 40 million anesthetics delivered annually of which anesthesiologists are involved in more than 90% of the time. Other medical professionals that may administer anesthetics include dentists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologist assistants, and anesthesia technicians. There are three basic types of anesthesia which includes general, regional and local anesthesia. Other forms of administrating anesthesia include epidural anesthetics and spinal cord anesthetics. Many factors go into determining which anesthesia is best for you and your particular medical procedure. The main goal of administering anesthesia is to eliminate the feeling of pain during the patient's surgical or medical procedure.
Unfortunately, the practice of administering anesthetics to a patient is not risk free. When an anesthetist's level of medical care, skill or treatment falls below the standard of care and inflicts serious injury or death to a patient, medical malpractice may have occurred.
Possible causes of anesthesia errors and mistakes include:
- Failure to administer correct anesthesia dosage;
- Failure to ensure anesthesia delivery is timely;
- Failure to exam patient prior to medical procedure and obtain relevant medical history such as medications taken, previous anesthesia experiences or complications, etc.
- Failure to intubate patient correctly;
- Failure to prevent and minimize anesthetic complications;
- Failure to prevent injuries during intubation process;
- Failure to properly administer oxygen to patient during surgery or procedure;
- Failure to provide instructions to patient after anesthesia recovery, such as no smoking, no drinking, what not to eat, etc.
- Failure to use correct and safe medical devices and equipment;
- Failure to watch patient during surgery or procedure;
- Failure to prevent "Anesthesia Awareness" which arises when the patient awakens in the middle of their surgical or medical procedure, but is unable to move or speak and also feels the associated pain and discomfort of the ongoing procedure.
The most common injuries associated with the negligent administration of anesthesia or anesthetics include:
- Aspiration Pneumonia
- Birth Defects
- Brain Damage
- Cardiovascular Collapse
- Collapsed Lung (Barotraumas)
- Endotracheal Tube Injuries
- Extubation Injuries
- Heart Arrhythmia
- Heart Attack
- Intubation Injuries
- Loss of Bodily Function
- Nerve Damage
- Pneumopericardium (air around the heart)
- Positioning Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Throat Damage
- Tracheal Damage
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Ulnar Notch
- Wrongful Death
Or any other injuries or wrongful death incident related to the administration of anesthetics or anesthesia.