The idea of undergoing a surgical procedure causes concern for most people. That concern is intensified when parents must make similar decisions regarding surgical options for their young children. Pediatric patients are especially susceptible to even the smallest anesthetic error, because of their small size. Tragically, when a pediatric anesthesia error occurs, the results can be devastating – and even fatal.
What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a medication that is typically administered to patients in need of a surgical procedure. While the surgeon performs the procedure, anesthesia places the patient in a painless, unresponsive, and unconscious state. Just as the surgical procedure is dictated by protocols that prevent disastrous mistakes from occurring, the administration of anesthesia must be precisely monitored.
If these protocols are not followed exactly, and patients monitored closely, mistakes can occur with devastating results, such as brain damage, asphyxia, coma, stroke, pain and/or consciousness during surgery, paralysis, heart attack, stroke, or death.
Duties of an Anesthesiologist
Anesthesiologists are physicians who are trained to administer and mange anesthesia given during a surgical procedure. Many times an anesthesiologist will choose a subspecialty, such as pediatric anesthesia. These pediatric anesthesia professionals are responsible for managing and treating changes in a patient’s breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate, as they may fluctuate during the surgery. Additionally, anesthesiologists promptly diagnose and treat any medical issues that might arise during and following the surgery.
Before the surgery, the anesthesiologist will assess the patient’s medical condition and determine a plan that takes the patient’s physical health into account. Parents should disclose everything about their child’s medical history to the anesthesiologist. Some vital information he or she needs to know include:
- Any known allergies
- Previous anesthetic reactions
- Vitamin and herbal supplements
- Current and/or recent prescription or over the counter medications
Common Anesthesia Errors
According to the American Society for Anesthesiologists, approximately 40 million anesthetics are administered annually in the U.S. Yet, despite improvements in patient safety, however, anesthesia errors still occur with the potential for serious injury or death. Some of the most frequently made anesthesia errors include, but are not limited to:
- Errors in dosage
- Administering anesthetic to a patient with drug allergy
- Failure to check for harmful drug interactions
- Failure to recognize and/or treat anesthesia complications
- Extended sedation
- Failure to monitor vital signs
- Delayed anesthesia delivery, and
- Faulty equipment
Pediatric anesthesia is a highly regulated field that necessitates a medical professional’s complete and undivided focus. When this fails to happen, your child could be seriously or fatally injured.
Contact Our Washington D.C. Pediatric Medical Malpractice Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our pediatric medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has been injured because of an anesthesia error, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The pediatric medical malpractice attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.