When it comes to good patient care, anesthesiologists are critical players. There’s some element of danger to any procedure. Because of this, anesthesiologists have a lot of responsibility when it comes to making sure that they minimize the risks of any medical procedure to their patients – and mistakes do happen. It’s estimated that between 65% and 87% of anesthesia-related deaths are due to human error.
The following are some of the most common errors made in this area of medical practice. When they occur and patient harm results, those affected may be in a position to take legal action.
Poor preoperative assessments
Anesthesiologists should thoroughly evaluate a patient’s medical history, current medications, allergies and overall health in light of the surgery that’s about to be done. Failing to do so can result in anesthesiology errors like overdosing (or underdosing) and administering drugs that interact badly with the patient’s other medications.
Medication errors during procedures
Medication errors can involve incorrect dosages, improper drug administration or even medication mix-ups. To avoid such errors, anesthesiologists need to confirm drug allergies and contraindications with each patient on the day of the procedure and double-check dosages, among other safety procedures.
Patients under anesthesiology have to be monitored carefully for complications. Failure to keep track of the whole patient – including their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and more can lead to issues like hypotension, hypothermia, hypercapnia and hypoxia – all of which can lead to heart attacks, stroke or death.
Inadequate infection control
Infection is one of the main dangers to surgical patients, so infection control is everybody’s responsibility. An anesthesiologist can fail in their responsibilities by having poor hand hygiene or allowing contaminated equipment to be used on a patient.
When it comes to good patient care, anesthesiologists are critical players. Thorough preoperative assessments and vigilant monitoring of a patient’s condition during and after a procedure can help them to avoid common mistakes. When an anesthesiologist makes an avoidable error and tragedy results, seeking legal guidance can help affected patients to better understand their rights and options under the law.