Types of Anesthesia
The strengths of medication used in medical treatments range from numbing pain in a particular body part to creating a medically induced unconsciousness. The type of anesthesia used can vary greatly depending on the type of procedure being performed. Simple, outpatient procedures may only require a local anesthetic, while lengthier and more invasive procedures may require general anesthesia. The most common types of anesthesia include:
- Local Anesthesia:
- This type of anesthesia numbs a small area of the body, such as a tooth and gums during a root canal procedure. It does not affect consciousness or memory.
- Regional Anesthesia:
- A regional anesthetic may be used to numb larger areas of the body, such as an entire limb. As with local anesthesia, it does not cause any unconsciousness, nor does it have an amnesic effect.
- Dissociative Anesthesia:
- Although this type of anesthesia does not result in unconsciousness, it does create a half-awake state. In addition to numbing pain, this may also have an amnesic effect, so patients have little memory of the procedure.
- Spinal or Epidural Anesthesia:
- This form of anesthesia, injected near the base of the spinal cord, numbs pain while allowing patients to remain fully alert.
- General Anesthesia:
- While under general anesthesia, patients not only experience no pain, but they are temporarily unconscious. As a result, patients have no memory of the procedure.
Anesthesia can be very safe if those administering it follow all safety protocols and properly monitor the patient during and after the procedure. However, some medical professionals are negligent in their duties and patients are the one to suffer.
Injuries Resulting from Anesthesia Errors
When a doctor, nurse, or anesthesiologist is negligent when administering anesthesia or monitoring a patient, serious, life-threatening injuries can occur. Brain injuries are one of the most common, as they can result from asphyxia, or lack of oxygen. Asphyxia can lead to an aneurysm, stroke, memory loss, and other serious complications.
These grave errors can also result in a patient suffering a heart attack or spinal cord injury. An injury to the spinal cord can cause permanent paralysis of large portions of the body. In severe cases, patients may go into a coma, which can result in death if appropriate actions are not taken promptly.
For more than 36 years, The Tawwater Law Firm has represented victims of medical malpractice and other forms of negligence.
In medical malpractice cases, we rely on expert testimony from some of the top health care providers in the area. With their assistance, we can prove the anesthesiologist or other medical professional acted negligently, causing your injuries. In some cases, the hospital may also be liable. Whether the hospital can be held liable depends on whether the anesthesiologist was an employee or independent contractor. If, however, our experts determine an equipment malfunction was the culprit, the hospital may be found negligent in its equipment maintenance and thus held accountable.
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room doctors and other medical staff are specially trained to deal with life-threatening situations quickly and competently. In the urgent, hectic environment of a hospital emergency room, it is understood that mistakes may occasionally be made. However, if a patient suffers injury or death because of ER negligence, a medical malpractice lawsuit is a reasonable response.
Emergency room patients can be the victims of misdiagnosis, improper monitoring, medication errors, and other potentially harmful or fatal mistakes. Our outstanding attorneys can represent you in an emergency room error lawsuit.
What Constitutes an Error?
It is the responsibility of ER personnel to stabilize the patient and determine if he or she needs to be admitted to the hospital for further care. Sometimes, an emergency room doctor overlooks a significant medical problem, failing to properly diagnose a patient. The patient may be discharged and told there is nothing wrong, resulting in potentially serious consequences. In other cases, a patient may be given a medication that causes an adverse reaction because of an allergy or interaction with other medications being taken. This may happen because a nurse or other personnel overlooked vital information provided by the patient on an admission form.
A hospital emergency room that turns a patient away without treatment is in violation of federal law and potentially guilty of medical malpractice. Any hospital that receives Medicare funding, which most all do, is subject to the rules of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Under EMTALA, the emergency room cannot turn anyone away, regardless of the person's ability to pay. Even if the ER transfers the patient to another hospital, liability can be found if the patient suffers from lack of immediate treatment.
First responders in an emergency, including paramedics, firefighters and ambulance crew, are generally exempt from medical malpractice lawsuits. However, first responders can still be subject to malpractice if it can be proven that their reckless disregard or blatant negligence was the cause of a patient’s injury or death. First responder protection does not extend to doctors and employees of a hospital emergency room.
Not every patient can be saved in an emergency situation, and for medical malpractice to be found, a doctor or staff member must be shown to have behaved negligently. To establish negligence, it must be proven that a competent individual under the same circumstances would not have made the same mistake.