When doctors talk about “putting you under”, they typically mean putting you under the influence of anesthesia, which is crucial for them to perform serious operations on you.
Unfortunately, if the anesthetist gets something wrong, it could mean putting you under the ground. Deaths from anesthesia are not that common, but they can happen.
What issues can arise?
Various other ill effects can occur if anesthesia is used improperly. These are the most damaging ones:
- Cognitive issues: You can suffer a reduced capacity to think and remember. It is most frequent with patients who have had a stroke or heart attack before or live with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
- A reaction to the anesthesia: Known as malignant hyperthermia, you get fever and muscle contractions which need to be treated urgently. It could even kill you.
- Breathing problems: Your throat can close, making it difficult to get the oxygen you need during and after the operation. If you have sleep apnea, you are more at risk.
- Nerve damage or paralysis: Epidural injections of anesthesia can result in nerve damage, a seizure, infection of or bleeding into the fluid around your spinal column.
The safe use of anesthetics requires a thorough consultation with you or family members. The medic must determine if there is any risk of an adverse reaction due to allergies, relevant medical history or family history. It relies on the person being suitably qualified and experienced. They need to select the right drug and dosage and monitor your condition adequately throughout the operation and recovery period.
If you or a family member have suffered from anesthesia errors, you will need legal help to determine if it was due to medical malpractice.