Articles Tagged with anesthesia malpractice

An IV, short for “intravenous,” is a familiar medical device used by doctors and nurses to administer various medications and other fluids to patients by inserting a needle or tube directly into the patient’s vein. Once the IV is inserted into the vein, it typically is taped to the skin to prevent it from moving or otherwise coming loose. If an IV becomes dislodged from the vein but stays under the patient’s skin, the medication being dispensed can be harmful to the surrounding tissue. This is called an IV extravasation.

If the patient is awake when the extravasation occurs, they usually feel immediate pain or discomfort and can quickly notify a doctor or nurse of the problem before significant harm is caused. However, if the extravasation occurs while the patient is unconscious (for example due to anesthesia or other sedation), the harmful medication can be dispensed into the patient’s tissue for a long period of time, causing significant injury to the patient, including tissue damage and necrosis (death of the tissue).

As a result, it is important that when a patient who has an IV is unconscious, the doctors and nurses regularly check the IV to ensure that no extravasation has occurred and quickly stop the dispensation of medication if it does occur.

In late March, a Maryland teen died at Johns Hopkins Hospital after she was deprived of oxygen during routine wisdom tooth surgery. Her parents have since brought a medical malpractice suit against the oral surgeon and anesthesiologist who performed the dental procedure.

At the outset of the surgery, the teen was administered a standard dose of anesthesia. This dose was not sufficient to perform the surgery and an additional dose was administered. Shortly afterwards, the teen’s heart rate began to slow.

The medical malpractice suit, brought in Howard County, alleges that the doctors were negligent in their care of the teen. The suit states that they committed a serious medical error when, during the course of the surgery, the teen’s heart rate slowed to 40 beats per minute and her oxygen level began to drop, but doctors failed to resuscitate her. By the time emergency personnel arrived, the teen had no pulse and had suffered permanent and irreversible brain injury.

An Alabama jury has awarded $20 million in a medical malpractice case in which a woman died after receiving negligent anesthesia care. The woman, a wife and mother of two, died in 2006 after receiving anesthesia during exploratory surgery. The woman, who had been suffering from severe abdominal pain, aspirated bile from her stomach into her lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. The family claimed that the defendant doctors did not examine the woman’s abdomen or look at her medical records before the exploratory surgery, which would have revealed her risk factors for breathing fluid into her lungs.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled a number of medical malpractice cases, including some involving the negligent administration of anesthesia. In one case, a woman died from improper monitoring during anesthesia. In another case, a patient died of aspiration pneumonia during the days after surgery. These are tragic cases. They can easily be prevented with just even the minimum care and attention. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.

Contact Andrew G. Slutkin with further questions or inquiries at 410-385-2786

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