Dental Malpractice Case: When Anesthesia Errors Are Fatal
Most people think of medical when it comes to malpractice cases, but these also apply to dental. However, if something goes wrong while a person is under anesthesia due to an error made by the dental surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurse, the patient could suffer greatly. This is why it’s so critical to choose a reputable dental professional.
The Risks of Anesthesia
A lot of patients go to sleep via anesthesia without giving the risks a second thought. Fortunately, most surgical procedures end up fine, but some don’t. As you probably know, anesthesia works by putting you to “sleep” during an operation. The goal is to prevent you from feeling any pain throughout the procedure.
Usually, people do just fine, but sometimes, a patient suffers a mild to moderate injury. However, a bigger concern is for those who have a traumatic injury such as organ failure, spinal cord injury, brain injury, heart attack, and so on. The worst-case scenario, someone dying because of a mistake made by the surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurse.
Anesthesia poses the greatest risk to infants, children, and older patients. For people 65 years and older who had surgery while under general anesthesia, one in every 10 died within the following year. That’s horrible, but even more frightening is that infants and children are at an even higher risk than aging adults.
Current statistics show that seven out of every one million people die from an anesthesia-related error. The most common mistakes include:
Improper Intubation – When under general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist must intubate the patient. That consists of inserting a tube down the individual’s throat, which gives the anesthesiologist full control of their breathing. Improper intubation could either decrease or block airflow.
Improper Monitoring – It’s the anesthesiologist’s job to monitor the patient throughout surgery. The goal is to keep them asleep to the point where they don’t feel any pain but not so deep that waking them would prove difficult. Failure to monitor a patient’s oxygen level could lead to brain injury and, ultimately, death.
Poor Communication – Every medical expert involved in a patient’s surgery needs to communicate. The anesthesiologist needs to keep the surgeon advised of the individual’s oxygen level and degree of sleep while a nurse must relay vital signs.
Wrong Dosage – The anesthesiologist determines the correct type and dosage of medication on a patient-by-patient basis. If given too much anesthesia, an individual might awaken from surgery unable to move or speak. If given too little, they could experience pain during the procedure. The anesthesiologist can’t leave a patient under sedation for too long as that could cause brain trauma, coma, and even death.
If you experienced an injury while under anesthesia during dental surgery or a loved one died, please contact the Arizona Dental Law Group at 602-833-4200 or visit us in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with cases like this. We will go over your case in detail, followed by recommending the best course of action.