Injuries due to anesthesia are relatively uncommon in Chicago, which is good news for anyone about to undergo surgery. When injuries do occur, however, they are often due to human error and are avoidable, which means in many of these cases the injury was caused by negligence that could have been avoided through more attentive anesthetic administration. Make sure you know the possible injuries that may occur and discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.
By far, the most common injuries suffered during anesthesia are oral in nature, particularly dental injuries. Intubation can result in damage to teeth, including teeth being knocked out or broken, and injuries can occur when the tube is removed, especially if a patient bites at the tracheal tube. Injuries to lips and the oral mucus membrane are also quite common. These types of injuries usually heal quite easily, but in some extreme cases, additional surgical treatment may be needed to repair damage. Tracheobronchial injuries can occur during intubation, but they are quite rare. Due to the nature of them, however, when they do occur, it can be life-threatening. Vocal cords can be damaged, and a sore throat may result from intubation, which usually requires only minor care.
Nerve injuries are also quite rare, but can also be very serious. These usually occur as a result of improper positioning of a patient during surgery. Since a patient cannot move, it is very important that the anesthesiologist monitor the position of the patient and make sure that there is no potential for nerve damage. Elderly patients are most at risk for this type of injury, and should talk to their doctor prior to surgery about any specific nerve or muscle issues.
Eye injuries are rare but can be caused due to the effects of anesthesia on a patient. It is important that anesthesiologists ensure a patient's eyes are closed and remain closed. Anesthesia also tends to dry out a patient's eyes, making them more susceptible to damage and injury from other elements of a procedure.
All of these types of injuries are avoidable if proper care is taken by the anesthesiologist and others during a surgical procedure. When negligence causes an injury, however, then those involved and the facility in which it occurred may be liable. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to complications with anesthesia, call the Chicago anesthesia error lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today at (312) 644-0444. We can discuss your case and explain your options.