There has been a recent decline in the number of deaths caused by anesthesia errors, according to a study by the Journal of Healthcare and Risk Management. While this is great news for the medical community, it doesn’t change the fact that anesthesia errors are still a problem for patients across the country.
Anesthesia is a drug that is administered to reduce and prevent pain during surgery. However, mistakes by healthcare professionals cause the opposite to occur.
Statistics show that 1 in every 200,000 patients die from anesthesia errors.
On its face value that number may seem low, but when you compare it to the vast number of people who receive anesthesia on a daily basis, you realize just how deadly the drug really is. Patients have to worry about the risks of surgery, they shouldn’t have to worry about the risk of anesthesia.
Becoming a victim of anesthesia errors is completely preventable as long as healthcare professionals do their jobs correctly. It has been proven that human error by doctors and nurses account for a great majority of anesthesia complications.
The following are the most common reasons for anesthesia error:
1. Poor Communication and Improper Behavior by Medical Staff
Surgical teams must work together to protect their patients. However, personal and behavioral issues, such as fatigue, personality conflicts, and busy schedules, often get in the way of efficient and proper care. It is also common for medical staff to ignore or disable auditory alarms that are designed to alert the staff about changes in a patient’s vital signs.
2. Poor Training, Lack of Experience and/or Certification
Anesthesiologists are known for getting “on-the-job” training. Without the correct background or certifications, it is different for these healthcare professionals to fully assess their patient’s health. Certain conditions, such as sleep apnea, allergies, and seizures can make anesthesia even more dangerous. It is important that those administering the drug have the training to understand the added risks.
3. Failure to Read Doctors’ Orders and/or Chart Notes
Prior to receiving anesthesia, patients must disclose their complete medical history to doctors and nurses. Sometimes patients forget a piece of medical history that is incredibly important for doctors to know before they administer anesthesia. Other times, the patient may disclose the information, but it doesn’t get charted correctly, or other healthcare professionals fail to read the chart. Finally, it is important to note whether a patient has had a prior bad reaction to anesthesia, and often times, that gets overlooked.
If you or someone you love suffered from an anesthesia mistake, you need to call me at 1 (800) 556-4769 to discuss your experience.
Author: Tim Misny | For over 34 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at email@example.com or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.