Anesthesiologists don’t only administer anesthesia to patients, but they have other tasks as well, such as monitoring the heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs. There are times, however, when they fail to do their part. This could have serious repercussions and lead to other serious problems. When there is negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist, a medical malpractice lawyer in Bronx should be consulted.
One recent case involves comedienne Joan Rivers, who died after a cardiac arrest last year during a routine throat procedure. On top of everything else that allegedly went wrong during the procedure, medical records showed that Rivers was given 300 milligrams of the anesthetic Propofol, which one of the anesthesiologists in the team denied.
Dr. Renuka Reddy Bankulla claimed, according to a FOX news article, that she gave the actress only 120 milligrams and only accidently “double-clicked” on computerized records, resulting in the amount stated there. Initial investigations into the incident also alleged that Bankulla neglected to record Rivers’ weight, which is necessary to determine how much anesthesia she should administer. If all these were true, that’s two strikes for the anesthesiologist, and her case isn’t looking good.
How important is anesthesia accuracy?
Anesthesia errors are often more dangerous than mistakes on the operating table. Even the slightest mistake can cause brain damage, permanent injury, and death. Mistakes can be made even before the actual administering of anesthesia, if there is a failure to recognize possible complications or to tell the consequences of not following preoperative instructions. During the operation, the administration of excessive anesthesia, failure to observe changes in vital signs, or using defective equipment are considered malpractice.
In terms of correct dosage, the anesthesiologist should know and review the patient’s medical history and condition to come up with an anesthetic plan. The vital information that an anesthesiologist should have at hand includes: reactions to previous anesthetics, current herbal supplements, known allergies, street drug usage, and smoking and drinking habits. All of these come into play when the anesthesia is administered. Aside from managing the heart rate and blood pressure, the anesthesiologist is also tasked to replace fluid and blood when needed.
Anesthesiologists may be considered only medical support in a surgery but they have big roles to play before and during the procedure. It’s vital that they carry out their responsibilities properly so the operation will go smoothly. Unfortunately, even the smallest error of an anesthesiologist could make the whole operation go awry. Those who have experienced medical malpractice at the hands of an anesthesiologist should get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney in Bronx such as those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein.
(Source: Anesthesiologist in fatal Joan Rivers procedure is identified, FOX News, January 4, 2015)