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Anesthesia-related medical malpractice leads to large awards

Anesthesiologists provide a valuable service by administering anesthesia to a patient before surgery. The administration of anesthesia also poses the risk of potentially serious, and even deadly, mistakes, however. A California anesthesiologist who administers an incorrect dosage of anesthesia or fails to monitor a patient properly may have committed a serious instance of doctor malpractice.

Interestingly, in recent years, the number of medical malpractice claims relating to anesthesia errors has decreased. The financial payouts for the claims that do garner an award have increased, however, and have increased more substantially than other medical malpractice payouts. The increasing size of the awards indicates the severity of anesthesia-related medical malpractice.

A study based on data obtained from the National Practitioner Data Bank indicates that of the medical malpractice claims pursued over a nine-year period, approximately 2.7 percent were due to anesthesia-related errors. The leading two causes of medical malpractice claims were diagnostic errors and surgical errors, but anesthesia-related claims resulted in a larger average payout than claims stemming from diagnostic or surgical errors.

The anesthesia-related claims had much higher rates of paralysis injuries and brain damage than the diagnostic or surgical claims, and these types of injuries warranted higher payouts than other injuries, likely due to the extreme and life-altering nature of the injuries.

Anesthesia is essential during surgery, but if administered negligently, the results may be serious, and even fatal. If you or a loved one has suffered from anesthesia-related malpractice, you may wish to consult with an attorney to discuss your rights.

Source: anesthesiologynews.com, "Malpractice Payouts Against Anesthesiologists Increasing While Number of Payouts Falls," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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