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Doctor Negligence Cases Related to Anaesthesia

Medical negligence or malpractice is when the healthcare professional makes a judgment error, fails to follow correct procedures or does not act according to the requirements of minimum standard of care. Where the above leads to patient injury, it can be considered negligence and the patient has the right to seek compensation for damages suffered.

You may have lost your husband who was responsible for the financial care of the family and you now have to support your three children alone as the result of medical malpractice or negligence. Doctor negligence cases are often complicated, but out of court settlements are not uncommon.

Anaesthesia-Related Incidents

Doctor negligence cases related to incorrect procedures followed in administering anaesthesia are more common than most people think. Indeed, with anaesthesia medication being rather strong, any overdose can lead to serious patient injury. The patient can suffer from any number of conditions, such as a heart attack, stroke, blindness, paralysis and even death. Anaesthesia-related mistakes are thus extremely dangerous.

But why do the anaesthesiologists make mistakes? Reasons range from being overworked, because of high patient load, to incorrect information received regarding the patient’s health history. Poor communication between the medical professionals can also lead to dosage administration mistakes.

Unlike many other disciplines in the medical field where a small mistake may not necessary lead to permanent serious injury, when it comes to anaesthesia even a small oversight can have serious consequences.

Type of mistakes include, but are not limited to:

  • Overdose of the anaesthesia drug.
  • Delay in administering the anaesthesia.
  • Not giving a strong enough dosage leading to the patient regaining consciousness during the medical procedure.
  • Not moving the patient at regular intervals during a long surgery, which can result in optic nerve injury and subsequent blindness.
  • Accidental switching off the oximeter alert system and thus not getting notification when the oxygen level in the patient’s blood drops too low.
  • Using defective equipment which leads to wrong readings.

The patient can suffer any number of injuries, including waking up during surgery and experiencing pain and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, because of regaining consciousness during surgery. The patient can suffer a stroke, because of blood clotting or oxygen deprivation or incorrect dosage of the drug. Delay in oxygen administration can lead to brain injury or paralysis. Where anaesthesia is administered during a caesarean section and the wrong dosage is given, the baby can suffer birth defects. It is also possible for the patient to suffer organ failure or even die because of mistakes made in monitoring and administering the anaesthesia drugs.

In such doctor negligence cases the nurses, hospital administration, and the surgery team can be held responsible along with the anaesthesiologist, depending on the particulars of the situation.

What to Do

We strongly recommend seeking legal guidance if you suspect that you, your spouse or loved one has suffered serious injury as the result of incorrect administration of the anaesthesia during a medical procedure. It is essential to take the necessary legal steps within the allowable three-year period from date of incident.

Call on Adele van der Walt Incorporated to help you determine whether medical negligence has taken place and what to do next.


Note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be seen as an attempt to provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that you contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for professional legal advice.

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