The proper administration of anesthesia requires the supervision of highly trained anesthesiologists. These physicians are specifically educated to assess and monitor patients before, during and after a procedure. The administration of anesthesia may occur in a hospital or outpatient setting such as in the office of a cosmetic surgeon, gastroenterologist or other physician. The failure of an anesthesia team, in any setting, to reasonably perform a pre-anesthesia evaluation, administer proper medications or conduct a thorough post-procedure assessment can result in devastating consequences.
Some complications that occur during the administration of anesthesia may be known or unpreventable. However, the following types of activity have supported valid medical malpractice claims:
Examples of Anesthesia Negligence
- Improper or incomplete pre-operative evaluation
- Failure to obtain or acknowledge a patient allergy prior to administration of anesthesia
- Improper dosage of medication
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Inadequate patient monitoring during the procedure or surgery
- Inadequate supervision of anesthesia team members
- Failure to communicate with surgeon
- Failure to properly respond to intraoperative emergency
- Premature extubation (removal of breathing tube) or discharge from care of anesthesiology team
Who May be Held Liable?
In most cases, the anesthesiologist is primarily responsible for the unreasonable activity of the anesthesia team. However, depending on the factual circumstances, a surgeon, nurse, hospital or other medical staff member may share some responsibility for the patient’s care.