Articles Posted in Anesthesia Injury

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The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group dedicated to hospital safety, has released their biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, showing an overall improvement in Illinois hospitals since the spring. According to Leapfrog, the survey measures hospital patient safety by the number of “errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” Participation by hospitals is optional and this fall, 110 Illinois hospitals agreed to take part. According to the data collected, Leapfrog rated Illinois hospitals as #13 overall, an improvement from #15 this past spring.

In a time where the increasing problem of medical errors is finally being given the platform it deserves, the survey is more relevant now than ever. The Leapfrog Group, citing an often quoted 2016 Johns Hopkins study, notes that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety and healthcare provider accountability is essential for all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Below is our analysis of the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report for participating Illinois hospitals.


Illinois & Metro Chicago Hospital Results

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The prospect of undergoing surgery is terrifying for many patients. While some fear the prospect of never waking up afterwards, some also harbor a very real fear of waking up too soon, while the surgery is still ongoing. While this sort of anesthesia error is not one of the most common types of medical malpractice, when it does happen it is truly horrifying. Fortunately, a new technology developed in Canada may one day almost eliminate these errors and make anesthesia much more personalized to the patient, and thus, more effective.

Do Patients Actually Wake up During Surgeries?

Patients do currently actually wake up during surgeries. Sometimes this is because of a patient’s unique body and there is nothing that an anesthesiologist could have done differently to prevent it from happening. But other times it is due to an anesthesiologist’s having done something wrong, having made an improper calculation, or having just not paid close enough attention to the patient. When this happens it is called “accidental awareness during general anesthesia” and it can lead to severe psychological trauma and even cause post-traumatic stress disorder.
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When community members hear the word “malpractice” the mind almost always jumps to medical doctors and mistakes made by those working in the hospital. But malpractice cases can just as easily stem from misconduct by dentists and dental hygienists. There is often less serious ailments among dental patients, and so it is easy to overlook the fact that severe harm can still befall those who do not receive proper dental care. That is particularly true for the most vulnerable patients-young children. Serious injury and even death is sometimes possible when those working at dentists offices or orgal surgical centers fail to act appropriately.

Dental Malpractice – Wrongful Death

For example, San Antonio Express News reported last week on developments in a dental malpractice trial involving the tragic death of a twenty two month old child. The boy was just shy of his second birthday when he went in for what was supposed to be a routine dental procedure.

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A father has filed a $19 million medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital and two doctors, claiming that he never consented to his son’s surgery. This surgery ended with his sixth month old son having permanent brain damage. Originally, the father was told that it was a minor small surgery shortly after his son was transferred to a new hospital. He was only warned that a small infection could be a complication, and this would be treated with antibiotics. However, the victim’s father still said he refused consent. Despite this answer, the doctors still operated on the young boy, leaving him brain damaged.

Hospital officials are stating that the father gave verbal consent, yet investigators have not found any hospital documentation to support this assertion. Furthermore, the baby was scheduled for morning surgery, yet doctors postponed it until later in the afternoon citing an inability to obtain consent. When the father refused, the doctor told him to return to the hospital for further discussion. Still the father is claiming that he refused surgery because he was nervous about the procedure’s use of anesthesia. He also was not offered a Spanish interpreter, despite the fact that he only speaks Spanish. Following the surgery, the baby had become dependent on a ventilator and feeding tube. He had entered the hospital on a nasal breathing tube. The father believes that this is due to his son’s reaction to anesthesia. His son’s nursing care now costs costs $1,100 a month. To read more about the consent lawsuit, please click the link.

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A jury has returned a $20 million verdict in an anesthesia medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died during surgery when bile entered her lungs. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the anesthetists failed to identify that the victim had risk factors for breathing fluid into her lungs, despite the information being available in her medical record. The victim was preparing to receive exploratory surgery to determine the cause of severe stomach pains when she received the anesthesia. Once anesthetized, she began breathing bile into her lungs. She then later died. The victim’s family alleged that the defendants did not examine the victim’s abdomen or medical records before giving her anesthesia. If they had examined the patient they could have prevented her wrongful death. The jury awarded $20 million in favor of the plaintiff. Anesthesia deaths accounted for more than 2,200 deaths between 1999 and 2005. A little over 46% of those deaths are due to anesthesia overdose. To read more about the jury verdict, please click the link.

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A $1.2 million medical malpractice settlement was reached for a woman who lost the vision in one eye due to complications resulting from negligently performed cataract surgery. The damage to the patient’s eye occurred when the surgeon attempted to inject anesthesia at the state of the operation, through what is known as a peribulbar block. The medical error occurred when the needle was misdirected. This was caused by inadequate preinjection anesthesia which caused the patient to feel the injection and move. The result was the victim’s loss of eyesight in the damaged eye. Anesthesia medical errors are some of the most common and destructive types of medical malpractice in America. To take a closer look at the medical malpractice settlement, please click the link.

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Medical malpractice attorneys for the family of the nurse who died after liposuction treatment at a tanning salon said her medical records show that she could have been given too high a dosage of drugs. The 37-year-old slipped into a coma and was declared brain-dead after a doctor performed the procedure at a Medspa. She was removed from life support and died. The lawyers have said that they will file a medical malpractice lawsuit against both the doctor and the Medspa. The medical experts reviewed the records and determined that the victim had been given too high a dose of the local anesthetic lidocaine. The victims also criticized the doctor for using Propofol which is the same anesthetic thought to have contributed to the death of Michael Jackson. They argue that this type of drug should not be administered in a tanning salon. To read more about the tanning salon death, please click the link.

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The federal government has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a medical malpractice case filed by the family of a woman who died at a Naval Medical Center after a routine surgery to remove an infected boil. The federal government admitted no wrongdoing in the medical malpractice settlement. The woman died after anesthesiologist failed to intubate her after the surgery. Her airway became obstructed and she stopped breathing, causing cardiac arrest. According to the medical malpractice complaint, the victim was being treated at a hospital for an infected boil and when it worsened they determined emergency surgery was necessary. The surgery was successful but the victim was left without a breathing tube for at least 15 minutes while being transferred from the operating room to the intensive care unit. The anesthesiologist should have known that the woman had other medical issues, which included diabetes, and but a breathing tube in place. When she finally arrived in the ICU she had no pulse or blood pressure. This victim represents one of the 98,000 people who die annually from medical mistake. To read more about the medical mistake, please click the link.

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The family of a high school senior who died in connection to a surgery 18 months ago is suing the surgeon and anesthesiologist who preformed the corrective procedure. The young woman experienced a reaction to the anesthesia known as malignant hypothermia while undergoing surgery to rearrange asymmetrical breasts. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the victim’s surgeon and anesthesiologist were negligent in failing to diagnose their patient’s condition and denying her care. Experts have said that the intravenous muscle relaxant called Dantrolene sodium can be administered to counteract the effects of the malignant hypothermia. The patient’s mother told Avvo that “People survive malignant hypothermia episodes if treated quickly and properly.” This could account for one of the 98,000 people that die from medical mistakes each year. To read more about the medical error, please click the link.

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Recently, a jury awarded a 20-year-old woman $872,000 in a medical malpractice case for the severe burns she suffered on her face and neck during surgery. The woman was having a mole removed from her eyebrow and was anesthetized during the procedure. The plastic surgeon was found negligent when he failed to communicate to the anesthesia assistant that he was using a device that could cause an operating room fire when administered near oxygen. Due to this failure to communicate, the device ignited a fire that severely burned the patient. The jury also learned that the negligent doctor did not reveal the cause of the fire to the patient’s family. Read more about this successful medical malpractice case.