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Anaesthetic Claims

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Anaesthetic Negligence Claims

The need for anaesthesia is a daunting prospect for any patient. Provision of anaesthesia is required in many different settings, from a dentist providing pain-numbing injections for a filling, pain relief given to labouring mothers, gas and air given for sports injuries and dislocation while treatment is being provided, and of course for all major surgeries.

The complete process of placing a patient under anaesthesia is a complex high-risk process which can have both minor and major consequences when this is managed incorrectly.

It is not widely realised that the training process required to become an anaesthetist is as intense as that of becoming qualified as a surgeon.

Although those managing the anaesthetic process are highly trained professionals, the complex nature of the process does not mean things can go wrong.

What are the types of anaesthesia?

There are three types of anaesthesia which may be administered to the patient, depending on the procedure and circumstances.

General anaesthesia

The general option uses a combination of injected drugs and inhaled gas, targeting the patient’s brain and central nervous system to render them unconscious and unaware. This option carries the highest level of risk.

Local anaesthesia

Local anaesthetic is used to prevent pain in a specific region of the body while the patient remains conscious. Of the three types of anaesthesia options, local carries the least risk.

Regional anaesthesia

A regional anaesthetic is used when a larger area of the body needs to be numbed or when local injections are unable to effectively penetrate the site. While a larger area of the body is blocked from feeling pain, this is limited.

What can go wrong when being placed under anaesthesia?

Thorough preparation before using anaesthetic is vital, to ensure it is executed safely and successfully. This includes a full history taken from the patient in relation to pre-existing conditions and any medication being taken and precise calculations to be made in relation to the level of anaesthesia to be provided to take into account length of treatment, weight, height and age amongst other things.

If there is a choice of anaesthetic options that can be given, then it is vital that the patient is explained all aspects of each option, including risk and benefit to allow for the patient to make an informed decision.

Common anaesthetic claim errors:

  • Ineffective anaesthesia administration, where the dosage administered is too small or too large.
  • Incorrect anaesthetic agents are being administered based on the medical history or medications.
  • Failure to observe and monitor patients’ general observations such as blood pressure and blood gases appropriately during anaesthesia.
  • Epidurals and nerve blocks are being introduced at incorrect levels and spaces.
  • Failure to monitor the patient’s position during surgery to ensure nerves and blood vessels remain uncompromised.

The damage caused by anaesthetic can include:

  • The psychological damage from Anaesthetic Awareness, where patients become conscious during an operation.
  • Nerve damage resulting in pain or disability.
  • Brain damage including strokes, due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • Rashes, vomiting and difficulty breathing due to anaesthetic allergies.

When there has been the negligent use of anaesthetic, the repercussions and damage to the patient are often very serious. The implications are far-reaching and may not be limited to just physical damage. Patients can have long-term psychological and financial issues because of anaesthetic-related claims.

Should you decide to pursue medical negligence compensation, we can offer ‘no win no fee’ claims in most cases, meaning you are at no financial risk.

The team at Medical Negligence Solutions are here to help support you through your negligence claim, aiming to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible.

To find out if you’re eligible to make a claim on a no-win no-fee basis, contact our legal experts for a free consultation which carries no obligation to proceed.

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