When one thinks of compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations, the most commonly-pictured scenario is that of anaesthetic awareness – the horrifying situation where a patient is partially or fully conscious during a surgical procedure, but paralysed and unable to communicate their condition to medical personnel.
Fortunately anaesthetic awareness is not such a common occurrence. Even when it does happen, patients are usually numb to any pain, and the injuries that are sustained are psychological rather than physical. It is still a horrifying event for the patient who experiences it, and it is possible to claim compensation for intra-operative awareness should this happen due to medical negligence.
The majority of compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations are the consequence of too much anaesthesia being administered during an operation, or due to anaesthesia being incorrectly administered when a local anaesthetic is required for relatively minor surgery. These anaesthesia errors can have significant long-term consequences and even result in the death of a patient.
Claiming Compensation for an Anaesthetic Error
If you have suffered an adverse event due to an anaesthetic overdose or the incorrect administration of anaesthesia, you should speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. There are strict guidelines regarding the administration of anaesthetics, and anaesthetists are required to complete a checklist prior to and during any surgical procedure.
Your solicitor will request access to your medical records and the anaesthetist´s checklist to see whether the standard of care you received fell below that accepted by the general medical community and if you are eligible to make compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations. If so, your solicitor will send a “Letter of Claim” to the NHS Trust or medical facility responsible for your care.
The NHS Trust or medical facility has ninety days to acknowledge that your loss, injury or avoidable deterioration of an existing condition was due to medical negligence, after which your solicitor will negotiate a settlement of your claim. Compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations are not always straightforward, but your solicitor will be able to advise you of any potential issues regarding your claim when you first discuss your eligibility to claim compensation.
The Settlement of Compensation Claims for Anaesthesia Errors during Operations
The settlement of compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations depends on the nature and extent of the adverse event you have experienced. As mentioned above, anaesthetic awareness claims will usually focus on any psychological injury that has been sustained, while many people who have received an overdose of anaesthesia will suffer from memory loss and early onset dementia caused by brain damage.
Other long term health problems that can be caused by an overdose of anaesthesia include cardiovascular problems and nerve damage. When these injuries affect your quality of life and your ability to engage in pastimes and social activities, you will also be able to make compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations to account for your “loss of amenity”.
Finally, settlements of compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations should also compensate you for the financial impact of medical negligence. This includes recovering any injury-related costs you have incurred – or may incur in the future – and any loss of income or future loss of income. The settlement of your claim should return your financial position to what it should have been had your anaesthetist not acted negligently.
Further Information about Claiming Compensation for Anaesthesia Errors
If you or a loved one have suffered a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to the negligence of an anaesthetist, you are invited to contact our Medical negligence Advice Bureau to discuss your eligibility to make compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations with a medical negligence solicitor.
Our solicitor will be able to answer any legal questions you may have about compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations, and he or she will expand on the process for establishing negligence and making a claim as it relates to your individual experience.
Please note that all calls to our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau are absolutely confidential and – by contacting our service – you are not committing to making compensation claims for anaesthesia errors during operations or to using any of our legal services.