Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

The many different causes of anesthesia errors

An estimated 40 million procedures requiring anesthesia are performed in the United States each year. Data compiled by the Institute of Medicine also shows that there are 1.5 million Advert Drug Events (ADEs), or intraventional drug injuries, that occur in the country each year. At least 5.3 percent of all ADEs that occur happen prior pre-operatively.

One of the most common reasons for anesthesia errors is medication dosing errors. Provider carelessness, haste and inattention each cause 5.6 percent each in injuries. Limited practical experience results in 16 percent the errors that occur. Poor training as to how to use devices or equipment cause 9.3 percent of injuries.

Infections that are caused by patients' intravenous (IV) lines building up a harmful residue that gets pumped into their bloodstream when they're administered anesthetic drugs is another common problem. This type of event most often occurs among children.

Providers that administer anesthesia too fast put patients at risk of experiencing sudden increases in blood pressure, breathing difficulties and anxiety. It's important that providers set IV flows accurately to prevent this from occurring.

Doctors or nurses that fail to keep a close eye on patients post-operatively often administer pain medications either so soon or with so much frequency that it causes patients to suffer from unnecessary side effects and even develop opioid addition.

The final reason anesthesia errors occur is because of problems with documentation. Doctors who write down a patient's dosage before actually administering it are more susceptible to making this type of error. If a doctor doesn't clearly document what postoperative steps other doctors and nurses should take, then a patient can experience adverse side effects as well.

At least a quarter of a million Americans die as a result of physician negligence each year. One of the reasons doctors and hospitals carry liability insurance is for instances like these. Learn more about New Haven medical malpractice law to determine if your case meets the strict definition of negligence and whether you can file a claim in your case.

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