Anesthesia lets surgical patients endure invasive procedures without feeling pain or discomfort during the procedure. But these powerful drugs must be administered and monitored closely, or they can seriously harm the patient.
This example did not take place in Pennsylvania, but give an idea of the consequences of negligent anesthesiology that could easily happen here.
A man who was paralyzed after undergoing surgery in 2012 has won his medical malpractice suit against the anesthesiologists involved in his operation. The jury awarded the man $9.2 million, both for the loss of use of his legs and his auto mechanic business, Insurance Journal reports.
The man was suffering from a perforated bowel, flu-like symptoms and dehydration when he went to the hospital. Doctors treated him for the dehydration, then discovered the perforation and began preparing for surgery. The plaintiff was given anesthesia about an hour before the operation. His attorney argued that the patient was still too dehydrated at that time, and that the anesthesia caused his blood pressure to plummet, choking off blood flow to his spinal cord.
This caused him to become paraplegic. He was eventually forced to sell his garage. Therapy helped him walk short distances using a walker, but grant money and insurance funding ran out, so he had to stop therapy, though he hopes to resume it thanks to his successful lawsuit.
Very few operations involve an anesthesia error. But those that do frequently leave their patients permanently disabled, if they even survive. Mistakes in the operating room can have such serious implications that negligence should not go unnoticed and unpunished.