Anesthesia errors can lead to serious complications and should be taken seriously. If you believe you have been injured by the incorrect administration of anesthesia, you may have a legitimate claim for damages against your healthcare provider or hospital.
The Mobile anesthesia error lawyers at Lattof & Lattof are ready to help you fight to maximize your financial recovery.
We offer free, initial consultation to answer your questions and identify whether you may have a valid claim. What’s more, we offer our services on a contingency fee basis – which means that you pay nothing unless you win.
Our firm has represented accident victims since 1952 with over 100 years of collective experience. Our practice represents only accident victims and has an emphasis on medical malpractice claims. Let the legal team at Lattof & Lattof put their expertise to work for you.
How Our Mobile Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been Harmed Because of an Anesthesia Error
When you undergo a medical procedure – whether it’s planned or an emergency – you trust that the team of medical professionals charged with your care will keep you safe. You expect them to help you, not make things worse. Unfortunately, anesthesia errors are all too common.
The consequences can be catastrophic, if not deadly. So, it can be really important to pursue damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Going up against hospitals and insurance providers isn’t easy. They tend to have deep pockets and seemingly endless resources. Fortunately, you can level the playing field by making sure that you have an experienced Mobile personal injury attorney in your corner.
At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team understands that your life has been turned upside down. And, we’re ready and willing to put our decades of collective experience to work to get you the money you deserve.
As we pursue compensation on your behalf, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to your anesthesia injury. We’ll leave no stone unturned as we gather evidence to prove that your anesthesiologist was negligent and, therefore, legally responsible for your anesthesia-related injury. As we navigate the process, we’ll handle conversations with the provider and hospital on your behalf and work toward resolving your case with a meaningful settlement.
If other parties aren’t willing to work out a deal that’s favorable to you, rest assured that our Mobile medical malpractice lawyers will not hesitate to take your case to court. We’ll do whatever it takes to help you recover full compensation for your injuries.
Overview of Anesthesia Errors in the United States
A recent study performed by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (“AANA”) states that medical errors are among the top 3 causes of patient deaths, with approximately 400,000 preventable deaths occurring annually. In particular, anesthesia errors occur when an improper amount of anesthesia is administered. In 2019, there were 123 claims filed with the AANA that involved preventable anesthesia errors.
Anesthesia is administered during surgery and prevents the brain from processing pain, therefore eliminating any memory of the procedure. An anesthesiologist is responsible for assessing each individual patient and administering the proper dosage of anesthesia. Proper dosage is based on a patient’s age, health, body composition, and type of surgery. When too much anesthesia is administered or the patient is not properly monitored, the results can be life-altering. Complications from anesthesia error can range from slight discomfort, to emotional distress, to serious – sometimes life-threatening – physical injuries.
Causes of Anesthesia Errors in Mobile, Alabama
Thankfully, in this modern age of medicine, anesthesia errors are fairly uncommon. Anesthesia errors are wholly responsible for roughly 34 deaths, and contribute to approximately 281 deaths in the United States annually. The most common errors occurring during the administration of anesthesia are due to the over-dosage or under-dosage of anesthesia. The root cause of the errors can be attributed to the following:
- Poor monitoring of the patient
- Poor communication between medical staff
- Insufficient training of the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist
- Inadequate or defective equipment
- Improper pre-surgical instructions
- Incorrect intubation process
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Administering the wrong anesthesia
- Untimely administration of anesthesia
- Errors in judgment by the medical staff
- Failure of surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurses to respond to patient’s distress; and
- Overly tired medical staff.
The most common patients affected by anesthesia error were women with an average age of 51 years old. Most patients were found to be healthy before the error occurred. Surprisingly, the most frequently occurring injury due to anesthesia error was death. While each case is unique, the experienced anesthesia error lawyers at Lattof & Lattof will assess the specific details of your case to identify potential causes of action. If you believe you have been the victim of over or under-dosage of anesthesia, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options.
Common Injuries Resulting from Anesthesia Errors
When anesthesia is incorrectly administered, the results can be life-altering and sometimes tragic.
The under-dosage of anesthesia can lead to what is called “anesthesia awareness” during which the patient awakens during the procedure and is aware of what is going on, can feel the pain of the procedure, but is unable to communicate or alert the surgeon.
As you may well know, this can be an incredibly painful and traumatic experience. This is the most frequently occurring anesthesia error, with between 20,000 and 40,000 estimated cases occurring annually.
The over-dosage of anesthesia can cause cardiovascular abnormalities, brain damage, paralysis, asphyxia, and even death. Many instances of over-dosage occur due to improper calculations by the anesthesiologist and occur more frequently in under and overweight patients. Injuries resulting from an anesthesia overdose include:
- Nausea or gastrointestinal issues
- Respiratory issues
- Cardiac Issues
- Brain Injuries
- Paralysis; and
- Wrongful death.
Depending on the severity of the under or over-dosage and the resulting injuries, you may seek to prove them in different ways. For example, your medical records may be used to show that you did not suffer from respiratory issues before that are now present. The Lattof & Lattof team may also utilize our own resources such as medical experts or subpoena the records of past incidents by the medical professional.
Provider Negligence and Your Anesthesia Injury Case
Anesthesia error lawsuits fall under the medical malpractice category. To prove medical negligence occurred, there are typically 4 elements that must be proven:
- A duty existed
- That duty was “breached” (i.e. the person with a duty did not meet the level of care required)
- You are injured; and
- Your injury was a direct and likely result of the breach of duty.
In a medical malpractice case, it is not typically a challenge to prove that a duty existed between a surgeon or doctor and a patient. The biggest challenges can present when trying to prove that the medical professional did not exercise the requisite care of a person in his or her position, and therefore breached that duty. Oftentimes, the key to a successful anesthesia error lawsuit is identifying the responsible parties and gathering key evidence as quickly after the accident as possible.
Medical malpractice cases can quickly become complex. The involvement of multiple parties as well as the fact that many hospitals require anesthesiologists to be independent contractors may further complicate an already challenging process. There may be insurance claims to submit, or maybe you’ve already received an inadequate settlement offer from the anesthesiologist’s insurance company.
Additionally, if the hospital or medical facility at fault is owned by one of the large hospital systems that are prevalent in the United States, you can bet that they have a team of experienced lawyers on staff to defend your claim. You should have experienced lawyers on your team, too.
Statute of Limitations an Anesthesia Error Claim in Mobile, Alabama
A statute of limitations is the law that sets forth the maximum amount of time you have to properly file a lawsuit. In cases of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that the incident occurred.
Cases filed outside of the statute of limitations are generally barred, with few exceptions. If the accident was not discovered or could not reasonably have been discovered during that two year period, the law provides an additional six months to file a lawsuit after the injury was discovered.
Due to the procedural hurdles that are involved in medical malpractice cases, time is of the essence. It can take months if not years to gather the evidence, consult with the physicians and medical staff involved, and otherwise build your claim. Don’t delay in consulting an experienced anesthesia error lawyer at Lattof & Lattof to discuss your case today.
Pure Contributory Negligence in Alabama
Alabama is one of few states that observes a theory called “contributory negligence,” which means that if the injured person bringing the lawsuit in any way contributed to the injury that is the subject of the lawsuit, he or she is precluded from recovering damages.
In a medical malpractice context, an example of this is where the patient does not follow pre-surgery protocol and does not fast as instructed. The patient does not disclose this, and only a few hours after the patient last ate, the anesthesiologist administers anesthesia which causes the patient gastrointestinal issues for months to come. In this instance, the patient would be unable to recover for his injury due to his own active role in causing the injury.
The anesthesiologist who is responsible will probably try to find any reason to blame you for your injury. That can be a devastating blow if you’re attempting to recover compensation. Our lawyers will stand up and fight to counter these efforts every step of the way.
Damages Available After an Anesthesia Error
Damages are compensation to the victim for his or her injuries. Damages typically take the form of compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages can include:
- Medical bills;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Rehabilitative care; and
- Loss of wages and future earning capacity.
In cases of extreme neglect or harm, punitive damages may be awarded.
As the name suggests, punitive damages are intended to “punish” the responsible party.
Alabama caps punitive damages awarded in medical malpractice cases at no more than three times the compensatory damages, or $1.5 million dollars.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our Mobile Anesthesia Error Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one have been injured due to an anesthesia error in Mobile, AL, time is of the essence. Your first step is to consult with an experienced Mobile anesthesia error attorney about the details of your case.
Due to the complex nature of medical malpractice and anesthesia error lawsuits, our legal team will handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery. The medical malpractice attorneys at Lattof & Lattof have represented accident victims since 1952 and will put their experience to work for you.
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options, and the steps our law firm will take to fight for you. Remember, you pay nothing unless your lawsuit is successful; so, you have nothing to lose.