Of the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of surgical procedures that occur in the United States each year, most involve the use of anesthesia. While a sedative can greatly reduce the amount of pain or discomfort that a patient experiences if it's administered incorrectly, it can seriously injure or kill a patient. At least a quarter of a million Americans die of different types of medical errors each year.
Patients who are given fluids intravenously that are set to flow at undesirably high rates are at increased risk for anxiety, headaches, breathing problems and high blood pressure. If the rates are set to flow at too low of a level, then a patient may not respond effectively to the intravenous medication that they're receiving.
How accurate an anesthesiologist is in calculating how much (or little) of a medication that should be administered to a patient can also greatly impact whether they experience side effects or not.
There are many reasons dosing errors occur. Just over 17 percent are caused by physician inattention, carelessness or haste. Another 16 percent of them stem from a doctor's limited experience. Just under 10 percent occur because the medical provider administering the anesthesia isn't familiar enough with the device or equipment that they're using.
Anesthesia errors occur can also occur if medications that are administered postoperatively are given at a rate that is too quick for the patient's body to adjust to it. An individual may develop an infection from having a stopcock administered as well.
Physicians failing to properly document their use of anesthesia put their patients at a higher risk of experiencing side effects. This most commonly occurs when an anesthesiologist finishes documenting their use of medications before a surgical procedure is actually completed. It also occurs when their orders for postoperative pain management aren't made clear.
Many tend to think of actual cutting or containing bleeding as some examples of the riskiest parts of a surgical procedure. Many don't consider what happens if they're given either too much or too little anesthesia, or they're not properly medicated during postoperative recovery.
Patients who've been unfortunate enough to have had their medications mismanaged know that the road to recovery can be long and winding. A Tucson surgical error attorney can help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering, medical costs and lost wages you have amassed.