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Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice Lawsuits

One of modern medicine’s greatest triumphs is the development of effective and safe anesthetic. However, anesthesia is fraught with dangers and must be handled with care, precision, and skill. That is why anesthesiologists work alongside surgeons and are responsible for administering anesthetics and monitoring a patient’s function during surgery. Anesthesia must be carefully administered, and anesthesiologists must closely check the patient’s vital signs for symptoms of irregularities. 

When anesthesiologists fail to do their work correctly, they risk severely injuring their patients or even causing their death. At Sweeney Merrigan Law, we understand the patients undergoing anesthesia must be carefully monitored during every stage of the process. Our medical malpractice team is well educated in this area and can spot signs of anesthesia negligence. As a victim of anesthesia malpractice, you should consider reaching out to our firm for a consultation by calling (617) 391-9001 or completing our contact form

What Is Anesthesia?

The use of drugs to block pain in the body is known as anesthesia. Lowering a patient’s pain level is a vital need in many circumstances. Patients would often die of shock from the extreme pain of their surgery before the arrival of anesthetic.

Today, hospitals use three types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia: the patient is rendered completely unconscious
  • Regional anesthesia: a part of the body is anesthetized for pain 
  • Local anesthesia: anesthetic is only administered to a small area of the body

Anesthesia is now safer than ever before because of advances in contemporary medicine, which suggests that most issues resulting from anesthetic delivery are caused by human error.

Common Types of Anesthesia Negligence

A patient could suffer numerous health repercussions or perhaps die if the patient experiences an adverse reaction and it isn’t recognized or treated in time. Although not exhaustive, the following list outlines some of the causes of these reactions. You may be entitled to compensation if an anesthesiologist makes any of the following errors.

Administering Insufficient or Excessive Anesthesia

Overdosing on anesthetics can result in irreversible injury or death. If not enough anesthetic is given, the dosage will not endure for the duration of the procedure. The patient will be in agonizing pain and may develop post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Intubation and Extubation Errors

Incorrect intubation or placement of a breathing tube in the patient can cause numerous injuries to patients at the beginning and end of their anesthesia’s administration. Patients are essentially immobilized when given general anesthesia, making it difficult for them to breathe. 

Anesthesiologists intubate patients by putting a breathing tube through the patient’s trachea to enhance oxygenation. If the breathing tube is inserted or removed incorrectly, patients could experience:

  • Nerve damage
  • Lack of oxygen 
  • Trachea perforation 
  • Damage to their teeth 

Suffering from these injuries following your experience with anesthesia could be signs that your anesthesiologist was acting negligently. 

Poor Patient Monitoring

To ensure that a procedure is carried out successfully,  the anesthesiologist must complete specific duties before, during, and after anesthesia is administered. Failing to complete these duties carefully could result in the patient’s injury or death. There are several ways that an anesthesiologist can neglect these duties.

Anesthesiologists must thoroughly evaluate their patient’s medical history and records before performing any procedure. Typically, patients must abstain from eating or drinking before their procedure to reduce the risk of aspiration once anesthetic is provided. If an anesthesiologist fails to conduct rigorous pre-operative screening, they risk administering medicines to which the patient is allergic, resulting in significant harm or death.

They may also fail to properly monitor a patient during surgery for indicators of anesthetic difficulties. During surgery, anesthesiologists should monitor a patient’s heart rate, respiratory success, and blood pressure. If they, for example, fail to address a pulse oximeter’s alarm, a device that measures a patient’s blood oxygen level, their patient could die. Anesthesiologists can also fail to appropriately monitor a patient during emergence, the period after surgery when the anesthetic wears off.  

Who Can Be Held Liable for Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice?

In medical malpractice cases, the doctor or the hospital is held responsible. That doctor is usually your anesthesiologist in anesthesia malpractice lawsuits. If the anesthesiologist works for the hospital, the hospital is responsible. If the anesthesiologist works for the hospital on a contract basis, the hospital may still be liable for hiring them. In the event of equipment failure, hospitals may be held liable.

Because the comparative negligence rule can be applied to medical malpractice cases, your anesthesiologist may allege that you were negligent and contributed significantly to your injury. Comparative negligence is a personal injury law that affects your ability to recover total compensation. Healthcare practitioners sometimes use comparative negligence as a defense to avoid liability or limit the amount of compensation you can recover. 

Even if you are somewhat to blame for your injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation as the plaintiff. You can only do so if your percentage of fault does not exceed that of the defendant, your healthcare practitioner. The court will reduce your compensation if you are found to be partially responsible but not primarily responsible.

Common Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice Injuries

A patient under anesthesia is utterly powerless and dependent on medical personnel. Anesthesia neglect can manifest itself in various ways, with a wide range of unintended outcomes.

The following are some of the most significant potential consequences of anesthetic negligence:

  • Lack of oxygen/asphyxia
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Coma
  • Allergic reactions
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Brain injury
  • Death
  • Heart attack

When anesthesiologists make catastrophic mistakes, our attorneys have helped injured people and families who have lost loved ones obtain justice and compensation.

Choose Top Legal Professionals for Your Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice Case

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, our firm is staffed with highly skilled legal professionals ready to take on your case. Our core medical malpractice team consists of Attorney’s Ben Novotny, Kim Ridge, Kyle Camilleri, and Amy Nichols, a medical records reviewer. Every team member has been honored for their dedication and character. To begin, Benjamin R. Novotny is a partner at Sweeney Merrigan Law who has helped his clients recover over $200 million in verdicts and settlements.

Kim Ridge focuses her work on personal injury and medical malpractice matters. She was designated a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star for 2021 because she is a tireless advocate who fights for her clients to receive maximum compensation. Kyle Camilleri is a trial lawyer who represents clients in various personal injury situations. He is skilled at adapting to the demands of each practice area.

Consult an Experienced Massachusetts Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyer

Even with the precaution of having a professional who specializes in anesthesia observe the patient, mistakes nevertheless happen too frequently. These mistakes can have disastrous repercussions, and in some situations, they can even be fatal. Patients who have been affected by this negligence should consider filing an anesthesia malpractice suit. Medical malpractice claims are challenging, and due to the complexities of the process, they may take a long time to resolve. Working with a malpractice lawyer with a proven track record is essential.

Sweeney Merrigan Law is dedicated to obtaining the best possible result for our clients, and we have recovered millions of dollars in the process. Top Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys like Ben Novotny, who was selected Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year in 2018 for his work on medical malpractice claims, have helped clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Call (617) 391-9001 or fill out our contact form to learn more about what our firm can do for you.