When a person learns that they need surgery, it can be a frightening situation. Even minor surgeries can provoke stress in a patient. One of the issues many patients worry about is the anesthesia they will be given during the procedure. The anesthesia is medication which significantly decreases the pain level and makes the surgical process more comfortable for the patient. However, it is important for all patients to be well informed about the risks that are associated with the different types of anesthesia used.
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General Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used when it is necessary for the patient to be completely asleep during the procedure. It is the most common type used and is administered through a face mask, intravenous line (IV), or nose or throat tube.
Epidural or Spinal Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia numbs the patient’s lower body and extremities. It is commonly used during childbirth, appendix extractions, and hernia repairs.
Interscalene Block: This anesthesia is often administered to specific areas of the body, such as the shoulder or upper body extremities.
IV Regional Anesthesia: This anesthesia is also used to numb a specific area of the body, such as an arm or leg.
Local Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used to numb a small area of the body and is often used during minor surgical procedures such as a biopsy or dental procedure. Pain is alleviated with local anesthesia, but patients often feel pressure.
Peripheral Nerve Block: This type of anesthesia is used to numb a specific area. It is also used as a treatment for chronic pain.
Although the majority of anesthesia administration goes fine, complications can develop, often due to medical error. It is estimated that one in every 200,000 patients die due to anesthesia error. Some of the common anesthesia errors caused by medical error include:
- Delayed delivery of anesthesia;
- Dosage error;
- Failure to intubate or injury caused during intubation
- Failure to monitor patients;
- Failure to recognize patient complications;
- Incorrect administration of oxygen;
- Leaving the patient unattended;
- Leaving the patient under the anesthesia for too long; and
- Miscommunication between medical staff.
Patients who suffer injuries caused by anesthesia error can be left suffering from permanent and debilitating injuries. Victims can suffer from birth defects, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular injuries, asphyxia, coma, and death.
Contact a Carolinas Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of a preventable anesthesia error, contact a North Carolina medical error attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the medical staff and facility where the incident occurred.