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What are the most common anesthesia errors?

On Behalf of Cronin & Maxwell

Anesthesia errors are more common than you may think. They can cause serious side effects and even put a patient’s life in danger.

The way anesthesia is used is a precise science. If the anesthesiologist makes a mistake, a patient could become aware of a surgery, have an adverse reaction or feel pain despite being under anesthesia.

Anesthesiologists are responsible for caring for patients and making sure they get the right dosage of anesthesia as well as the right medications. Failing to do so could give the patient the right to make a medical malpractice claim.

3 common anesthesia errors

There are many things that can go wrong with anesthesia, but three errors are among the most common. These include:

  • Administering the wrong type of anesthesia
  • Administering too little anesthesia
  • Failing to recognize adverse events

The truth is that the majority of anesthesia errors are avoidable. For example, going over the patient’s records and the surgery that is to occur in advance will help the anesthesiologist select the correct medications for the procedure based on the patient’s history.

Administering too little anesthesia is an issue as well. This may happen if the patient’s weight is not correct, if preoperative information is missing or if the amount of anesthesia needed was not considered for a patient with certain underlying conditions that may influence how much they need to go under.

Failing to recognize adverse events is another major problem. It’s essential for anesthesiologists to stay in the surgical room while anesthesia is being used. They need to monitor the patient’s oxygen saturation and heart rate, for example, as well as other vital signs. The amount of anesthesia used needs to be carefully monitored to induce paralysis and sleep. At the same time, the pain medications used must be closely monitored to be sure the patient doesn’t have pain during the operation.

Making any of these errors can leave a patient at risk of serious injury. Some patients may wake up during surgery. Others might suffer from hypoxia due to a lack of oxygen. These and other injuries and trauma are possible, which is why an anesthesiologist must get the medication mixture correct and monitor the patient carefully throughout the surgery.

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