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Anesthesia errors are among the five most common hospital mistakes. Like other medical errors, they can take the form of malpractice or negligence. In the case of negligence, someone simply makes a mistake that leads to injury or death. In the case of malpractice, the party knowingly departs from proper protocols or the standard of care.
Responsible parties may include an anesthesiologist, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, or even the hospital where the error occurred.
The most common forms of anesthesia error include:
Other errors may relate to anesthesiologists’ additional responsibilities. For instance, they share responsibility with the surgeon to ensure the proper positioning of the patient during surgery. If they conclude a procedure is unnecessary or, given the circumstances, dangerous to the patient, they must refuse to participate. This can actually prevent the operation if another doctor cannot be found.
Finally, an anesthesiologist must ensure a patient fully recovers from the anesthesia and is safe to be moved or discharged.
Injuries from anesthesia must be distinguished from normal side effects. It is not unusual, for example, to experience any of the following after receiving anesthesia:
Contrast these with the more serious injuries that may result from anesthesia error:
In these cases of serious injury, the anesthesiologist, anesthetist, or hospital may be responsible for medical negligence or malpractice.
An anesthesia error may have been related to the death of 51-year-old Southfield resident Richard Curbelo on January 21 of this year. This is a sad and scary situation. Curbelo was undergoing a routine colonoscopy at Beaumont Hospital. This procedure is generally very safe, so the fact that Curbelo died raises questions about what happened in the operating room.
The procedure took place on January 21st, a few weeks after Beaumont hospital outsourced the management of its anesthesiology services to Northstar anesthesia.
If, in fact, an anesthesia error occurred, Beaumont Hospital and NorthStar Anesthesia should be held accountable for their medical negligence. Read the news story here:
Due to the secrecy that often attends cases of medical error, it is hard to assess whether an anesthesia error occurred for sure at this point in time. However, in his reporting on the incident, Deadline Detroit writer Eric Starkman noted several potential problems with respect to the anesthesia department.
For instance, Curbelo had been intubated, which is rare for a colonoscopy.
In addition, there was controversy about Beaumont Hospital’s recent contract with NorthStar Anesthesia. Starkman reports:
“the co-heads of Beaumont’s nationally ranked cardiovascular department in September wrote a letter to Beaumont board chairman John Lewis notifying him they had ‘serious concerns’ that NorthStar couldn’t maintain Beaumont’s historically high anesthesiology standards. Deadline Detroit reported in November that NorthStar was recruiting anesthesiologists that Beaumont had previously rejected.”
In other words, there are some red flags in this case that merit further investigation.
If you or a loved one suffered injury or death during a procedure in which there was a possible anesthesia error, you have the right to reparations from the responsible party or parties. Goodman Acker is sensitive to how traumatizing these situations are and will work with you to establish liability and ensure justice is served.
Contact us today to get started on your anesthesia malpractice case.