As a patient who is undergoing surgery, one of the most important things is to have an anesthesiologist who is well-trained and who understands how to counteract problems caused by anesthesia. Anesthesia errors do happen every day, and many times it’s a result of using too much or too little of the medication needed to sedate a patient.

Anesthesia errors can take many forms. Unfortunately, since they are so varied, they can have significantly different outcomes. Some errors could result in permanent injury or death.

What are some common anesthesia errors?

Common anesthesia errors include:

  • Failing to give anesthesia on time
  • Failing to monitor a patient appropriately
  • Prolonging sedation for too long
  • Failing to recognize or respond to complications from anesthesia
  • Dosage errors

Anesthesia errors may happen because of miscommunication, an underlying misunderstanding of the medications or how they interact in the body, or simple neglect.  There are many risks to anesthesia errors, however, and patients who suffer from them may suffer from significant complications.

What are some common anesthesia complications?

Anesthesia normally causes some side effects, like drowsiness or mild amnesia. Complications could include:

  • An inability to waken from too much medication being used
  • Cardiovascular distress
  • Memory loss or postoperative confusion
  • Heart attacks
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Stroke
  • Pneumonia
  • Death

It’s essential that the team working with a patient knows about their medical conditions, tolerance to past medications, allergies and other essential information that could influence their reaction to anesthesia. If they do suffer a reaction or develop complications, then the anesthesiologist should be prepared to handle those as they arise. If they do not pay attention or make errors that lead to a patient’s injury or death, then they may be held accountable.