Experienced and Knowledgeable Anaesthesia Malpractice Lawyers in Calgary
Anesthesia is often used in many medical and dental procedures. General anaesthesia can be administered through an IV or by inhalation to bring the patient into a state of controlled unconsciousness. This allows for patients to undergo procedures safely and painlessly. However, there are risks in putting someone into a state of unconsciousness, and great care must be taken when administering general anaesthesia. Injuries resulting from use or misuse of anaesthesia may give injured patient grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
At Cuming & Gillespie in Calgary, our knowledgeable team of lawyers can help determine whether the injuries you sustained following the administration of the anaesthesia are the product of negligence and warrant a claim. We have years of experience in pursuing medical malpractice claims and will ensure you obtain maximum compensation.
Cuming & Gillespie: Helping Injured Patients on a Contingency Basis
We know that it is not necessarily financially possible to pay a lawyer up front for their services. It is for this reason that all our medical malpractice cases are taken on a contingency basis. We do not require a retainer payment or any other money up front, and you do not need to pay us unless we win.
When you consult with us, we will provide you with a clear and easy to understand outline of what our fees are and how they work. With Cuming & Gillespie in your corner, you can rest assured your case is in good hands.
Injuries from Anesthesia Malpractice
The most common injuries resulting from errors in administering anaesthesia include:
- Heart attack:
- Brain injury;
- Birth defect;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Nerve damage;
- Paralysis; and
Risks Associated with General Anaesthesia
Before a procedure, it is important that the medical professional inform the patient of all related risks that come with general anaesthesia. Information that needs to be conveyed to the patient, and discussed include:
Screening for Health Conditions
Certain pre-existing health conditions can mean that a patient is ineligible for procedures involving anaesthesia. It is the duty of a doctor to screen potential patients for underlying issues such as heart conditions, nervous system disorders, lung injury, and even allergies to anaesthetic agents. Proper and thorough screening is an essential first step to ensuring there are no unexpected issues and adverse reactions when a patient is anaesthetized.
Hypoxia and Hypoxemia
Hypoxia occurs when the body receives inadequate oxygen at the tissue level. Hypoxemia occurs when there is a low level of oxygen in the blood, specifically the arterial blood (blood that is oxygenated). Both conditions can be caused by errors when a patient has been anaesthetized. Improper regulation of oxygen can lead to one of or both Hypoxia and Hypoxemia, which can in turn damage organs. A lack of oxygen to the brain for even five minutes can cause permanent damage.
While under general anaesthesia, a patient’s ability to breathe on their own is diminished. Breathing is assisted by different devices, such as an endotracheal tube and laryngeal mask airway. There are a number of issues that can arise with these devices. For example, with the endotracheal tube hypoxia can occur when the tube is being inserted, if the tube punctures the trachea, or if there is a spasm of the larynx.
Improperly inserting the tube can result in chipped and broken teeth, or a dislocated jaw. Some of these risks are associated with the procedure and may occur regardless of how much care is taken. Therefore, it is important that the patient is properly informed of all the risks before consenting to the procedure. If informed consent is not obtained and the procedure goes ahead, there is a case for negligence if the patient suffers an injury due to the procedure.
All medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, and others, must be prepared in the event things go wrong and they must be able to react quickly. It takes less than 5 minutes without oxygen for the brain to experience some permanent damage. If the patient shows signs of hypoxia, stops breathing, or their heart rate changes drastically or stops beating altogether, the medical team must react immediately.
It is critically important to have life-saving tools readily available in the event that a patient unexpectedly stops breathing or goes into cardiac arrest. Life-saving tools include:
- Adrenaline inducing drugs (epinephrine, magnesium, or other drugs); and
- Resuscitation equipment.
An anesthesiologist should also be present to respond to an emergency. They are typically the ones who monitor the vital signs of a patient and alert the team if anything goes wrong. A lack of life-saving procedures and properly trained specialists on hand can lead to otherwise preventable permanent damage and even death.
Other complications that can occur while under general anesthesia include post-operative blindness, organ damage, and even cardiac arrest. These errors are generally avoidable, but still continue to occur due to the negligence of a surgeon, anesthesiologist, dentist, nurse or other healthcare professionals involved with ensuring a patient’s safety while under general anesthetic.
Anesthesia Negligence Claims
Before pursuing a claim for anesthesia malpractice, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer who is experienced in the area. Not all injuries that result from the use of anesthesia are a product of negligence, so it is important to consult with a lawyer that is knowledgeable in this very specific area of law to make sure that you have a case worth pursuing.
Our compassionate team of lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie has the experience and the knowledge to ensure a claim is warranted, advise you on possible outcome, and ensure you obtain the maximum compensation.
Experience and Compassion Are Keys to Success
If you think that an injury you or a loved one has suffered is due to anesthesia malpractice, contact Cuming & Gillespie. Over the past 25 years, we have developed a solid reputation for representing those who have been seriously injured by the actions or negligence of medical professionals. Contact us at 403-571-0555 or online to book a free consultation. We will review your case and discuss your options with you.