Failure to Monitor Properly During Surgery

Surgery involves many people beyond the patient. Their jobs are to ensure the well-being and safe outcome for the patient that has put their trust in the surgical team. The surgical team is comprised of the surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist. Many tasks are being handled in regards to the patient's health during surgery. The following are some specifics that are extremely important aspects to monitor for the patient to make it safely through surgery.

The anesthesiologist is responsible for making sure the patient is not in pain during surgery, as pain could lead to movement, and excessive bleeding. If the patient is under general anesthesia, then their breathing is also being done artificially for them. The anesthesiologist must monitor the patient's level of consciousness to ensure that they are not waking up during surgery, experiencing a change in vital signs due to too much anesthesia, or an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. 

The vital signs being monitored during surgery tell at a very fundamental physiological level how the patient is doing. Baseline vital signs are recorded before the surgery for a measure against vital signs during surgery. Significant differences between baseline vitals and vitals during surgery let the surgical team know if the patient is experiencing difficulties. 

One of the most important vital signs is the heart rate measured in beats per minute. Depending on the type of surgery, the heart rhythms may be monitored more specifically using the electrocardiogram. Blood pressure is another important vital sign that requires careful watching. The blood pressure measures the force of the heart-pump at delivering oxygen-rich blood to the tissues. Blood pressure that is too high indicates the heart has to work too hard to get blood delivered. Blood pressure that is too low indicates the heart is not pushing blood to the tissues with enough force for adequate perfusion (blood going through an organ or tissue). Body temperature is monitored as the body does not function well outside of very small temperature range. Color of the skin is also used to assess oxygen perfusion and body temperature. Breathing rates need to be constantly assessed, as tissues (especially the heart) cannot tolerate being without adequate oxygen. Closely tied to the breathing rate is a measure of the oxygen levels in the distal (remote) tissues. 

Another very important aspect that needs to be constantly assessed during surgery is the amount of blood loss the patient is experiencing. Reintroduction of fluids is done via IV. Nurses and doctors also have to monitor the IV site for swelling to make sure fluids are being taken up by the body and not causing local edema. Edema is a condition of abnormally large fluid volume in the circulatory system or in tissues between the body's cells (interstitial spaces).

One can see that there are many aspects to ensuring a patient's health during surgery. Failure in monitoring any of these can lead to serious injury or the death of the patient. The doctors and nurses involved also need the knowledge and experience to know how the age and health of the patient will affect their vital signs. Other variables that can adversely effect the patient's proper monitoring during surgery are the length and difficulty of the surgery (for instance, the need for different surgical teams to be involved). 

There is much more to surgery than simply making an incision to repair a problem. If an injury or death of a loved one resulted from the negligence or error of any member of a surgical team in failing to monitor the patient, you could be eligible for damages.

Please contact the Sweeney Law Firm. Let our medical experts review the facts to determine if you have a medical malpractice case. The Sweeney Law Firm reviews possible failure to monitor during surgery medical malpractice cases at no charge, and works on a contingency fee basis. There is no cost for representation unless there is a cash recovery for you.