When anesthesia is used correctly, it earns its rightful place as one of the miracles of modern medicine. The use of pain medication allows doctors to perform complex surgeries on patients, and because some operations require the patient to remain awake, it can quite literally save a patient’s life from succumbing to disease or injury. However, the opposite is also true: When anesthesia is applied incorrectly, or when the medical professional operating on you is negligent, there is little that can compensate for the pain and trauma you can experience.
In some cases, anesthesia errors may cause minor complications and pain, and in other cases, it may lead to a wrongful death for you or your loved one. Regardless of the scale of your anesthesia injuries, you deserve to fight for your rights. The difficult part, though, is proving that an anesthesia injury actually occurred and that it was preventable. In this post, our Orange County medical malpractice attorneys will touch on a few of the ways you can claim anesthesia injuries and get the compensation you deserve.
The Difficulties of Proving an Anesthesia Error Claim
For one thing, medical malpractice lawsuits are difficult to prove in general. Doctors and medical professionals carefully guard the secrets of their trade, and in many cases, the raw technicality of a medical malpractice case makes it hard to demonstrate the evidence to a judge or a jury. There are also so many parties involved in a surgery that proving negligence can be a complex matter.
With anesthesia, this difficulty is only increased, as pain is considered to be a subjective and qualitative experience. Although the very definition of anesthesia is the relief of pain and the total care of a surgical patient, some doctors may argue that experiencing some pain is inevitable based on your injuries and the surgery performed. Medical professionals may have let the attending anesthesiologist proceed without any observation, so gathering accurate testimony can be a challenge.
Ultimately, anesthesia error cases hinge on the legal doctrine of negligence. In order to be successful in showing that an anesthesiologist hurt you, you need to show that they acted inappropriately, which caused unnecessary pain and real damage to your system. From a failure to properly watch you under anesthesia, to defective equipment that was not detected in time, an anesthesiologist can and should be held responsible for avoidable problems.
What Are the Best Strategies to Prove an Anesthesia Error?
Here are a few of the best ways to illustrate that you have, indeed, experienced an anesthesia error:
- Find eyewitness testimony. It may be difficult at times, but it’s worth exploring whether any of the doctors, nurses, or observers noticed anything off about the anesthesiologist during surgery. If malpractice occurred, chances are high that they have noticed something but were not sure how to proceed.
- Consult with medical experts for an expert testimony. Expert testimony is always a good idea in medical malpractice cases, as they can speak to the injuries you sustained post-operation, as well as your ongoing issues.
- Review all medical records. If you suffered an anesthesia error, you most likely have visited the doctor several times since your surgery. Keeping track of your records will bolster the argument that negligence took place, as you can clearly show that certain medications and treatments were needed after the surgery. In extreme cases, you may be able to show nerve damage, reduced mobility, or other signs of injury.
- Request that an independent party examine the anesthesia equipment. It’s possible that the error occurred because of equipment failure. In those cases, you may be able to ask that the equipment be examined for defects.
How Long Do I Have to File for Medical Malpractice?
In California, you will need to act quickly on your discovery of an anesthesia error. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure, you have one year after discovering an injury to file a medical malpractice claim. Additionally, hospitals and medical providers can further complicate your claim, as most require 90 days’ notice of a lawsuit in order to prepare and review documentation. Because of these rules, it’s critical that you act as soon as possible once you believe an anesthesia error hurt you.
If you’re ready to speak with an Orange County medical malpractice attorney, contact The Law Office of Marshall Silberberg at (949) 565-4281, or schedule a consultation online. We serve clients throughout the Irvine and Los Angeles areas.