Is an anesthesia mistake considered medical malpractice?

Hospital Malpractice Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

When undergoing surgery, there are a lot of things you could stress over: will the procedure work right, how long will it take you to recover, etc. One thing you shouldn’t have to deal with is complications from anesthesia. Even though we live in the twenty-first century, there are still cases of complications from anesthesia. If you’ve been a victim of a complication, do you know your legal rights? Are you able to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the anesthesiologist or the hospital? In this post, we’ll walk you through what steps you can take if you’ve ever experienced this type of trauma.


First, let’s define anesthesia. Anesthesia was invented in the mid 19th century and while it was revolutionary for the time, anesthesia is now common practice in modern medicine. There are three types of anesthesia. General anesthesia is given to make the patient completely unconscious. This is mainly used during major surgical procedures. Regional anesthesia only numbs the part of the body being worked on so the patient feels no pain. Finally, local anesthesia is used on a small, localized area and is generally used for minor procedures.

What complications can happen with anesthesia?

While major complications with anesthesia are rare, mistakes can happen which can result in injuries to the patient. Some minor complications include pain after surgery, nausea, vomiting, inflammation to the throat or damage to a tooth due to the placement of the breathing tube, and temporary confusion or amnesia. Major complications can include nerve damage, brain damage, and blood clots due to lack of oxygen. Heart attacks, death, or waking up during the operation are extremely rare (only about 2 out of every thousand patients experience waking up during surgery).

An anesthesiologist can also make mistakes while giving the patient anesthesia. For example, they could give the wrong dosage, fail to monitor the patient throughout the procedure, fail to recognize or acknowledge any complications they see, or fail to properly prepare patients for undergoing anesthesia (not eating or drinking before surgery, etc.).

What steps can you take?

When dealing with a medical malpractice case, the most important thing for you to do is to prove negligence on the part of the anesthesiologist. You need to gather evidence to support your case including having a medical expert testify in court to prove that the anesthesiologist was acting outside the standards of care.

You may also have a case to sue the hospital. If the anesthesiologist is an employee of the hospital, then the hospital is also liable for any damages. Also, if the complication was due to the instruments in the operating room failing, then the hospital is liable.

Dealing with all the paperwork and negotiations that come with a medical malpractice case can be taxing. You may want to consider researching some lawyers who can help you work with the insurance lawyers on your behalf. While it may seem like just an extra expense, a good hospital malpractice lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on at Rispoli Law, PLLC will pay for themselves due to the higher amount of compensation they can win you. If you’ve suffered from an anesthesia complication, know what options are available to you to recover any damages.