The types of anesthesia typically utilized for any invasive or surgical procedure are generally categorized as either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia.
General anesthesia is typically administered intravenously or is inhaled through a facemask.
As its name suggests, general anesthesia is intended to render the patient unconscious. As a result, general anesthesia is most frequently utilized during major surgical procedures.
Regional anesthesia, also sometimes called spinal, epidural or local anesthesia, is designed to block the sensation of pain in a certain, specified area of the body. Although regional anesthesia may be used in combination with sedatives and other medications, regional anesthesia is typically administered by injection.
Because of the high level of care necessary for the safe administration of general anesthesia and the monitoring of a patient undergoing general anesthesia, general anesthesia accidents have long been associated with extremely severe injuries and frequent deaths.
In many instances, a negligent or careless anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will improperly intubate the patient, sometimes intubating the patient down the esophagus rather than the trachea.
In other instances, patients under general anesthesia are not adequately monitored. In some patients, the administration of general anesthesia can be associated with potentially fatal bradycardia, the lowering of the heart rate, or hypotension, an abnormally low blood pressure. If these conditions are not promptly assessed and addressed, the patient may quickly suffer permanent injuries, including brain damage.
The failure to adequately monitor a patient undergoing general anesthesia may also lead to hypoxia or diminished levels of oxygen in the blood. Poorly monitored patients suffering from hypoxia during general anesthesia can suffer hypoxic-ischemic injuries, including permanent brain damage and possibly death.
During the course of general anesthesia, poorly monitored patients may also suffer extreme blood loss during certain surgical procedures. If such blood loss is not promptly assessed and addressed, hypovolemia or hypovolemic shock may rapidly ensue, potentially causing cardiovascular collapse and even the death of the patient.
Anesthesia accidents associated with the use of regional anesthesia include cardiac arrest and circulatory collapse.
In many cases, the administration of a regional anesthetic leads to the direct trauma of the nerves or the administration of the anesthetic agents into an unintended area of the body.
In such instances, permanent, disabling injuries may result, including paralysis and brain damage.
As with general anesthesia, many anesthesia accidents associated with regional anesthesia arise from the failure of the health care provider to adequately monitor the patient while under the effects of anesthesia.
As with general anesthesia, bradycardia and hypotension are frequently associated with the administration of regional anesthetics.
The Law Firm of Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler, LLC has extensive experience in representing families whose loved ones have been injured or died as a result of medical malpractice resulting in with anesthesia accidents.