Under anesthetization occurs when too little anesthetic is given. Anesthetization is necessary for many medical procedures and surgeries. Anesthesia blocks nerve impulses so that the patient does not feel sensations or pain. Anesthesia can be given in different forms (topical, inhaled, or injected) depending on whether it is local (for small affected areas), regional (for larger affected areas), or general (whole body-asleep with aided respiration). Some common side effects of local, regional, or general anesthesia are chills, shakiness, nausea, vomiting, swelling and bruising at administration site, numbness of area administered to (measured in hours, not days), sore throat if a breathing tube was used, or headache if anesthesia was administered through the spine.
Complications that can happen during surgery with general anesthesia when too little anesthetic is given, or under anesthetization, are:
- Being awake
- Feeling intense pain
- Feeling pressure and/or sensations
- Memory of the procedure
- Gagging if a breathing tube is in place
- Movement that can result in further injury, excessive bleeding, and even death
Fear of medical procedures and post traumatic stress disorder can be the norm for patients who have experienced "anesthesia awareness" due to under anesthetization. For regional or local anesthesia, called MAC for monitored anesthesia care, being under anesthetized will mean pain - and lots of it.
Under anesthetization can happen for different reasons due to errors or negligence by the anesthesiologist:
- Wrong anesthesia for type of procedure or surgery (for example, local anesthesia for open heart surgery)
- Length of procedure or surgery underestimated which affects the amount of anesthesia needed
- Patient's weight and amount of anesthesia to dose with miscalculated (for example, dosing a larger person with a dosage meant for a smaller person)
- Misjudging how the patient's age affects their ability to handle an anesthetic
- Failure to know the patient's medical history to check for possible drug or supplement interactions with anesthetic used
- Improper monitoring of patient before, during, and after anesthetic administration (keeping vigilant watch on the patient's level of consciousness, heart rate and rhythms, blood pressure, breathing, blood oxygen levels, body temperature, and so on)
- If the hospital had a BSI monitor (bispectral index which measures brain waves to indicate a patients level of consciousness), was it utilized on the patient? (Note: This technology is not in use everywhere, but it is thought to decrease the chances of anesthesia awareness by over 80%)
- The anesthesiologist refused to listen to a patient about a prior experience of under anesthetization
- Certain body or constitution types reject anesthesia and require more than the typical dose
If an injury or death of a loved one resulted from the negligence or error of an anesthesiologist, 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 under anesthetization 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.