How Delayed Delivery of Anesthesia Could Constitute Malpractice

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesiologists are highly specialized and trained medical professionals, but it is essential they are fully prepared to do every aspect of their job perfectly. Even a small mistake with the mixing, timing, or dosage of anesthetic can cause catastrophic and potentially fatal harm to a patient undergoing a surgical procedure.

While an anesthesiologist or the hospital that employed them could be sued for malpractice based on the misapplication of anesthetic, that is not the only way such a case could come about. Under current New York law, delayed delivery of anesthesia could also constitute malpractice, even if no long-term harm resulted.

Consequences of Delayed Anesthesia Delivery

Almost most surgical operations would result in excruciating pain if the patient receiving treatment did not either have the operative area of their body numbed or receive general anesthetic to render them unconscious for the duration of the procedure. Whether local, regional, or general, proper application of anesthesia could help to both minimize patient discomfort and ensure doctors and surgeons can perform operations safely and effectively.

If anesthesia is not provided at the appropriate time prior to a procedure beginning, or if a patient receives an insufficient amount, they may experience what is known as anesthesia awareness. A patient who remains conscious while a surgical procedure occurs may be unable to move or say anything to indicate their awareness, and in some especially horrific cases, they may still be able to feel pain as they are operated on.

What Are the Mental Consequences of Awareness?

Aside from the risk this may pose to the successful completion of their operation, a patient who experiences anesthesia awareness may suffer debilitating damage to their mental and emotional health. Being awake and in severe pain during surgery may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, problems sleeping, and various other psychological conditions and losses.

What is a Negligence-Based Argument of Delayed Anesthesia?

Medical malpractice claims are typically based on negligence. This means the filing plaintiff alleges that a healthcare provider with whom they had a doctor-patient relationship failed to uphold a reasonable standard of care while treating them, and in doing so, directly caused them to suffer compensable harm.

While most negligence-based cases must stem from a physical injury, delayed diagnosis of anesthesia could still provide valid cause of action for a malpractice claim based purely on its psychological effects. In order to successfully recover compensation, though, a plaintiff seeking to file suit on these grounds must demonstrate that the anesthesiologist responsible for administrating anesthesia to them failed to perform their job duties in a way that another qualified doctor in the same situation and field would not have.

Furthermore, they must show that their damages and economic losses stemmed directly from the anesthesiologist’s negligence, rather than from any other source. Assuming these requirements can be made, a malpractice plaintiff may be able to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic losses stemming from delayed delivery of anesthesia.

Talk to an Attorney to Learn More

Whether delayed delivery of anesthesia could constitute malpractice may depend on the specific circumstances under which an anesthesiologist administered anesthesia, the procedure performed, and the plaintiff’s individual recovery process. Anyone who would like to explore whether they may have grounds for a lawsuit should consult a medical malpractice lawyer about their unique circumstances. Schedule a meeting today by calling now.