victim of anesthesia errors receives 105 million in damages

A woman who suffered permanent injuries from improperly administered anesthesia was recently awarded more than ten million dollars in damages by a jury. During a surgical procedure in 2006, the 44-year-old woman was treated by two anesthesiologists and a certified nurse anesthetist.

Following the surgery, it was clear something had gone terribly wrong. The woman spent 26 days in a coma, followed by 29 days in the hospital’s intensive care unit. She then underwent 45 days of speech therapy and orthopedic rehabilitation.

She has still not completely recovered.

The filings in her medical malpractice lawsuit said that, as a result of anesthesia errors, she suffered nerve damage and memory loss. She needs to use a feeding tube and a venous catheter. She had a tracheotomy and was left with a tracheotomy scar. She also has persistent pain in her feet and other physiological, psychological and neurological side effects from the improper anesthetization.

The woman’s lawsuit claimed that the anesthesiologists were careless and negligent. Specifically, the suit said that these medical providers failed to meet the standard of care in pre-operation assessments, in the use of anesthesia equipment and in monitoring the patient during surgery.

The woman is living at home, but requires a great deal of care from her family. She suffered “serious, severe, painful and permanent injuries” that “permanently deprived of her full ability to carry on and enjoy life’s activities.”

The jury clearly agreed with the patient that she and her family should not have to bear the cost of the grievous harm she suffered at the hands of negligent medical professionals. The judgment against the three individual defendants and the practice that they worked for was $10.5 million.

Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys point out that this case is an example of how a surgical patient’s life and health can frequently depend on all members of the medical team exercising utmost care and following all proper procedures.

Anesthesiology — specifically, proper administration of anesthetics and proper monitoring of the patient’s condition — is a critical part many surgical procedures. While negligence in any aspect of health care is dangerous, anesthesiology errors during surgery can be particularly serious and can easily lead to permanent injuries or death.

Source: The Day “Former Groton woman gets $10.5 million medical malpractice judgment” 5/13/2011

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