When a patient goes in for surgery, they may be filled with anxiety. Often, this fear is caused by the knowledge that they have no control over what is about to happen next. Instead, their fate is in the hands of the surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist. What happens when their worst nightmare comes true? Generally, the outcome depends on several factors, including whether or not fault can be determined. Unfortunately, some studies have indicated that anesthesiologists are underreporting their mistakes, which could leave some victims uncovered for compensable medical malpractice claims. Learn more about this potential risk of medical errors, and how you may be able to mitigate against it.
Underreporting Among Anesthesiologists
Anesthesiologists are the doctors responsible for keeping patients asleep, without overdosing, while they undergo surgery. Unfortunately, medical errors are all too common for these healthcare professionals. In fact, one study found 238 instances of self-reported medical mistakes in 434,554 examined cases (only about 5.5 percent in 1,000 cases), yet other studies have determined that incidents are more in the range of one in 100 cases. In other words, the mistakes are not just frequent, but also grossly underreported.
Compounding Risks for Patients
Grossly underreported errors are not the only issue regarding potential medical malpractice injuries. The fact that patients rarely get a say in who their anesthesiologist will be, and may not even know them by name further compounds the risk. They are unable to screen out possible offenders to improve their safety. Further, if the error is not reported, it could be nearly impossible to pin it down to a medication error or even a specific anesthesiologist.
Mitigating Against the Risks
If you have surgery planned and have not yet gone, you may be able to discuss your anesthesia options with your surgeon beforehand. Let them know what your concerns are, and request that you have time to meet with and research the anesthesiologist prior to your procedure. On the other hand, if surgery has already occurred and you or a loved one has suffered injury or fatality, the only risks you can mitigate against are those that may lead to a lack of compensation. In such situations, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help.
Call Our Office Today
The legal team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully represented many clients and their families who suffered serious injury or illness because of the negligence or carelessness of a doctor or other medical staff. In one case, we were able to obtain a $350,000 settlement for a client who suffered significant injury when his surgeon left a surgical sponge behind after gall bladder surgery.
Our North Carolina medical malpractice attorneys understand the overwhelming stress these types of mistakes can have on families and work diligently to obtain financial compensation because of the harm victims suffered when medical staff failed to provide the necessary medical treatment. Call our office today for your free case evaluation and discuss what legal recourse you may have.