When Houston resident Clara Ellis filed a lawsuit for her husband’s alleged anesthesia-related death, she claimed that her husband died because doctors at Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center administered anesthesia to him during surgery despite being informed that he was allergic.
Ellis filed the federal lawsuit in May 2016 against the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs without hiring an attorney. With no lawyer to represent and advise her, Ellis didn’t have much of a chance of recovering damages, much less the $40 million amount she sought, reported by a KHOU-11 television news story on her lawsuit.
You would think that when a medical mistake is made, doctors and hospitals would be eager to set things right. However, that’s not typically the case. if you’re going up against hospitals and medical malpractice insurance companies, you’re in for a fight to get compensation for your injuries or the death of a family member.
Ellis has since retained an attorney, who amended her complaint, and is suing the Department of Veteran Affairs Hospital and several doctors for medical negligence and negligent supervision. Meanwhile, lawyers for those defendants are battling to get her case dismissed.
Have you or a family member been injured due to anesthesia-related complications? If so, don’t try to recover damages on your own. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to get to the truth and present your case.
Statistics On Anesthesia-related Injuries and Death
During surgery, patients are generally given some form of anesthesia, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. The anesthesia could be local, which stops the sense of pain in a particular part of the body, or regional, which covers a larger portion. There are also spinal and epidural anesthetics.
Millions of Americans safely undergo surgery with anesthesia every year. However, other patients don’t fare as well.
According to a study published in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, the most frequently reported anesthesia-related injuries were:
- Teeth damage (20.8 %).
- Death (18.3 %).
- Nerve damage (13.5 %).
- Organ damage (12.7 %).
- Cardiopulmonary arrest (10.7 %).
How Do Anesthesia Errors Occur?
Anesthesia-related injuries or death can be caused due to any number of errors, including:
- Improper intubation
- Administering anesthesia to a patient with allergies.
- Failure to properly monitor the patient.
- Failure to administer oxygen.
- Anesthesia dosage error.
- Poor communication among the surgical team.
When Anesthesia Mistakes Result in Death
A Columbia University study found that there were 2,211 anesthesia-related deaths in the U.S. over a seven-year period, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Additional findings from the study:
- Anesthesia complications were the underlying cause in 241 (10.9%) of those deaths.
- Of the 241 deaths with anesthesia/anesthetics as the underlying cause of death, 79.7% resulted from adverse effects of anesthetics in therapeutic use, 19.1% from anesthesia complications during pregnancy, labor, and puerperium, and 1.2% from wrongly placed endotracheal tubes.
- Complications related to anesthesia were a contributing factor in the remaining 1,970 (89.1%) deaths.
Why You Need an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services, the median anesthesia-related medical malpractice payment in the U.S. in 2012 was $239,980. The number of anesthesia-related medical malpractice payments made that year was 2,872.
Medical negligence settlements don’t come easily, though. Medical malpractice cases are complicated, with malpractice insurance companies and hospital lawyers looking for any way to dismiss your case.
That’s why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney who will file court documents on time, arrange for expert witnesses and conduct discovery to take your case to trial or fight for the settlement that you deserve. Call us today at (713) 668-4545 to discuss your case for free.