An Anesthesia Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Secure the Compensation You Need and Deserve
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of an anesthetic error during surgery, an anesthesia malpractice lawyer at Snyder Sarno D'Aniello Maceri da Costa LLC in Roseland, NJ, can help you pursue compensation. Placing a patient under anesthesia requires careful attention and reliability. Anesthesiologists who disregard standards of care and put patients at risk are legally liable for any resulting damage. However, it requires proven expertise to build an effective case. Our attorneys can investigate the circumstances surrounding your injury and prove where fault lays.
We can fight on your behalf if you have suffered as a result of anesthesia malpractice.
What is Anesthesia Malpractice?
Anesthesia malpractice is a type of medical malpractice. Surgery in general involves risk. Even without surgical error, there is always the possibility of infection, immune reaction, and tissue damage.
Patients often underestimate the risk of anesthetic complications. Anesthesia is used to regulate a patient’s breathing and consciousness, making it one of the most high-risk parts of surgery. Doses must be exact and even slight miscalculations can cause problems. Consequences can range from the short- to the long-term, and include:
- Temporary mental confusion
- Waking up while under anesthesia
- Heart attack
- Brain injury
- Collapsed lung
- Ulnar neuropathy
While anesthesia errors are rare, the results can be devastating: the effects can be physical, mental, and emotional. Consequently, anesthesiologists must be highly trained and require much higher medical insurance premiums than any other medical specialists.
Anesthesia is used to regulate a patient’s breathing and consciousness, making it one of the most high-risk parts of surgery.
Building a Strong Case
It is important to keep in mind that medical malpractice suits do not apply to every type of medical complication. Because of the risks involved in surgery, complications arise even when a doctor follows safety protocol precisely. Malpractice cases only address situations in which protocol was not followed. A successful anesthesia malpractice suit must demonstrate that the anesthesiologist made an error or did not meet the standard of care and, as a result, caused a patient’s injury.
The most common anesthetic errors leading to injury include:
- Defective equipment
- Administering the wrong dose (either too much or too little)
- Failing to properly educate patients about food and alcohol restrictions before and after their procedure
- Failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs during and after anesthesia
- Leaving a patient alone while they are under anesthesia
- Failing to maintain an open airway for patients
- Judgment errors
- Incorrect incubation of patient
- Patient falling off of operating table while under anesthesia
In most cases, proving an anesthesia malpractice suit requires testimony from other medical professionals. They must demonstrate that any reasonable anesthesiologist would have acted differently in the same situation and that, consequently, the defendant should be held responsible.
Types of Compensation
In a successful medical malpractice suit, clients typically receive compensatory damages. The damages include both economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Long-term care
- Mental impairment
- Permanent disability
- Loss of wages
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Stress and anxiety
In New Jersey, there is currently no cap on these types of damages and the specific amount will vary depending on the plaintiff’s circumstances.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded as an additional punishment. In order to collect punitive damages, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the anesthesiologist in question intended to injure a patient. Consequently, they are awarded rarely. The total amount of punitive damages is usually set at $350,000 or five times the amount of the compensatory damages – whichever is greater.