Anesthesia errors are some of the most frightening medical errors imaginable.
Picture it: You are undergoing an intensive, invasive surgery. Some time after your anesthesiologist administers your sedatives and you fall asleep, you wake up, unable to move or speak, but able to see clearly and experience the full pain of your intensive surgery. You cannot call for help or ask the surgeon to stop, and you are forced to endure hours of tortuous pain.
It’s a terrible thought, but also a very real memory for many people who have experienced anesthesia awareness, one of many anesthesia errors.
Thankfully, anesthesia errors are generally more mild, and they are becoming more and more infrequent. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists explains:
“Anesthesia today is safer than it has ever been due to advances in technology and pharmacology, as well as more stringent practice standards and educational requirements for anesthesia providers. A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine titled “To Err is Human” indicated that anesthesia is nearly 50 times safer than it was in the early 1980s.”
Despite these improvements to the field of anesthesiology, anesthesia errors still do occur.
We want to share with you the current anesthesia error statistics so that you can better your understanding of anesthesia mistakes and gauge the risks of anesthesia for yourself.
Anesthesia Awareness Statistics
Anesthesia awareness occurs when a patient undergoing surgery with a general anesthetic wakes up. Anesthesia awareness can vary in scope. Patients report a variety of experiences ranging from vague, dreamlike states to being fully awake, immobilized, and in pain from the surgery.
On average, 0.1-0.2% of patients experience anesthesia awareness (1-2 cases per 1000 patients).
The vast majority of these cases are not painful for the patient. It is unknown exactly how many patients are fully aware and in pain while under anesthesia, however it is highly unlikely for it to happen to you.
Deadly Anesthesia Errors Statistics
A study from the Southern Medical Journal looked into all reported anesthesia errors from 2007 to 2014 and assessed the data they gathered to come up with some anesthesia errors statistics:
“Between 2007 and 2014, a total of 17,116 anesthetic errors were reported. There was a substantial decrease in the total number of these errors over time, from 2483 in 2007 to 1391 in 2014 (44% decrease). There were 131 reported deaths in this cohort (0.77% mortality rate), with 61 mortalities in teaching hospitals (0.86% mortality rate) and 57 in nonteaching hospitals (0.73% mortality rate). During the study period, deaths decreased from 21 in 2007
(0.85% mortality rate) to 11 in 2014 (0.79% mortality rate), corresponding with a 7.1% decrease in the mortality rate.”
Contact an Anesthesia Error Lawyer Today
Just like general practitioners and surgeons are obligated to provide you with a high standard of care, anesthesiologists are held to professional standards and must take precautions to ensure your safety during surgery. No matter how major or minor your procedure is, if there is anesthesia involved, there is a level of risk that needs to be considered.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of an anesthesia error, you may need the assistance of an anesthesia error lawyer, like those here at Merson Law PLLC. An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.