Does Anesthesia Cause Brain Damage?
Gregg Hollander | August 18, 2023 | Medical Malpractice
Anesthesia is an essential part of modern medicine and surgical practices. Depending on a patient’s needs and the complexity of their procedure, the use of anesthesia as part of a medical operation can range from local anesthesia that numbs a small part of the body to general anesthesia that renders the patient unconscious.
When administered properly, patients who are under local anesthesia are calmer and experience less distress during their procedures. It also makes patients less combative, allowing doctors and surgeons to work on a patient without fear that the patient will twitch or move and cause an injury.
However, what is meant to be a part of a patient’s care can still inflict severe injuries. When anesthesia is not administered correctly or when a patient’s vital signs are not properly monitored while under general anesthesia, brain damage can result due to a lack of oxygen.
The Risks of General Anesthesia
When you are put under general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist will administer the medication to you intravenously. You might also receive gasses through a mask. Together, these medications will put you into a sleep-like state where you cannot perceive pain or remember the procedure.
While it is not common to experience complications from anesthesia, the use of anesthesia is not completely risk-free. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, can raise the risks that a patient may experience an adverse reaction to the use of anesthesia.
General anesthesia is the riskiest form of anesthesia and carries the greatest chance of complications. Patients can experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and temporary confusion. Since general anesthesia requires the use of a breathing tube, they might also experience a sore throat after waking up.
How General Anesthesia Can Cause Brain Damage
To help you breathe while you are under general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will insert a breathing tube that will be removed at the conclusion of the procedure. Not only does the tube deliver oxygen to you, but it also helps keep stomach acid and other fluids from building up in your lungs.
Be that as it may, brain damage can result from a lack of oxygen while you are under anesthesia.
Such a risk exists if the anesthesiologist does not do the following before and during your procedure:
- Insert or secure the breathing tube properly so that it continuously delivers sufficient oxygen
- Notice that you vomit or secrete other fluids that then enter your lungs during the operation
- Detect, through monitors, that your brain is receiving insufficiently oxygenated blood while you are under
- Keep you intubated after the procedure until you can breathe sufficiently on your own
Temporary effects of oxygen deprivation can result after only a short time, but permanent brain damage can be inflicted after just four minutes without oxygen.
Effects of Brain Damage Due To Oxygen Deprivation
Depending on how long the flow of oxygen was interrupted, you might experience some or all of the following effects:
- Memory loss
- Vision and speech impairment
- Muscle twitches and spasms
- Judgment and impaired thinking
You may be entitled to recover compensation from the anesthesiologist if your brain damage and resulting symptoms came about because they did not provide you with adequate care. That compensation could help you address any ongoing medical bills, reductions in income, and other expenses related to your injuries.
Discuss what happened with a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney to see if you have a valid case.
How To Reduce the Chance of Brain Damage From Anesthesia
Before any medical procedure involving the administration of anesthesia, be certain that you discuss any preexisting conditions you have with your medical team. Ensure you understand the type of anesthesia you will receive and the medications that will be used.
If you do not feel comfortable with an anesthesiologist’s background or plan of care, do not hesitate to talk with your doctor or surgeon about bringing in a different professional.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
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