New York City Anesthesia Errors Attorney
Serving NYC and the Surrounding Areas
Although advances in medical technology have vastly improved the way in which anesthesia is administered, patients can still suffer harm as a result of anesthesia errors, whether from receiving too much or insufficient anesthesia, or the wrong type of anesthesia altogether. If these errors result in patient injuries, it may be possible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Nonetheless, holding a hospital or anesthesiologist liable can be complicated, which makes it important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.
Scaffidi & Associates is a leading medical malpractice law firm serving clients in the greater New York area. We have decades of experience helping victims of anesthesia errors and a proven track record of holding negligent parties accountable. Our legal team is highly regarded for providing our clients with aggressive legal representation and helping them obtain significant compensation.
Anesthesia Complications and Injuries
There are three types of anesthesia – general, regional and local. During the administration of general anesthesia, the patient is completely unconscious. In regional anesthesia, only a part of the body is anesthetized, such as through a spinal block. Finally, local anesthesia involves only applying the drug to a small part of the body.
Although postoperative pain, nausea, and vomiting are relatively common side effects of anesthesia, more serious complications and injuries include:
- Delirium or temporary mental confusion
- Serious allergic reaction or “anaphylaxis”
- Sore throat and/or damage to the larynx
- Tooth damage arising from improper intubation
- Respiratory difficulties/pneumonia
- Brain damage due to oxygen deprivation
- Nerve injuries
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
These injuries are often the result of errors during the administration of anesthesia, such as giving too much or too little anesthesia, failing to properly monitor the patient, or not recognizing complications as they are developing, such as a rapid heart rate, dangerously low blood pressure, or declining respiration. Additionally, patients can be harmed if they are not provided with sufficient oxygen during a procedure. One of the most common malpractice claims for anesthesia errors, however, arises from improperly intubating patients.
Proving Negligence for Anesthesia Errors
There are a number of factors involved in anesthesia errors, and determining whether the hospital or the anesthesiologist was negligent is complicated. Nonetheless, it is necessary to show that medical negligence caused or contributed to the patient’s injuries. Generally, this requires demonstrating that a healthcare provider was incompetent and did not provide the appropriate standard of care – that is, the degree of care that a reasonably skilled anesthesiologist would provide under the same circumstances.
In short, holding an anesthesiologist liable often requires working with an expert medical witness who can help to ascertain what went wrong during the administration of anesthesia. This is often a matter of considering any pre-surgical risk factors for anesthesia, and ascertaining the complication rate of the type of anesthesia that was used during the surgery. An overarching issue is whether the anesthesiologist was an employee of the hospital or an independent contractor.
Generally, hospitals are not liable for the negligence of healthcare providers that are not employees of the hospital. In these cases, determining whether the hospital has any legal responsibility requires obtaining and reviewing the employment contract between the hospital and the anesthesiologist. Depending on how much control the hospital had over the anesthesiologist, a malpractice claim can either be brought against the hospital or the anesthesiologist.
If the anesthesiologist was a hospital employee, then the hospital can be held liable for anesthesia errors due to medical negligence. A hospital may also be held liable for negligent hiring of an anesthesiologist who was acting as an independent contractor. If the failure of the anesthesia equipment caused the patient’s injuries, the hospital can also be held liable for not properly maintaining or repairing the equipment. In many other situations, the anesthesiologist can be held liable independently for medical negligence.
Anesthesia Negligence Attorneys
While there are inherent risks in all medical procedures, patients have a reasonable expectation that they will be provided with proper medical treatment. When injuries are caused by anesthesia errors, the consequences can be devastating. Some patients can sustain permanent injuries that require lifelong medical care, while others may be unable to work for an extended period of time. In any event, the resulting physical, emotional, and financial burdens can be overwhelming.
At Scaffidi & Associates, we believe that negligent hospitals and anesthesiologists must be held accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an anesthesia error, we will conduct a thorough investigation to understand what caused the error, and work tirelessly to help you obtain just compensation.
You may be able to recover damages for lost wages, past and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses. If the anesthesia error resulted in death, we will determine if there are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Since 1985, our dedicated legal team has gained recognition for being dedicated advocates of medical negligence victims and one of the leading medical malpractice firms in the State of New York. Call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.