Back in the 1940’s, approximately 69 out of every million who underwent a surgery under anesthesia, died as a result of anesthesia-related injuries. Over the next few decades however, those numbers were dramatically reduced, and going under anesthesia doesn’t automatically mean a much higher rate of death now.
However, despite great advances in anesthetic medicine, anesthesia is still not 100% safe. One of the responsibilities of your medical/surgical team, which includes your anesthesiologist, is to ensure that you’re not at a high risk for anesthesia injuries. They must account for those factors that put the patient at higher risk for complications related to the use of anethesia.
For instance, older patients are at a much higher risk of injury from anesthesia. In fact, the worldwide rate of anesthesia injuries has actually been inching upwards in recent years, and researchers point to the increasing numbers of older people going under the knife as one of the main factors contributing to this increase. As life expediencies increase, the numbers of older patients undergoing surgery has also increased. Older patients, who may have a history of cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, heart problems, or high blood pressure, have a much higher risk of anesthesia-related complications.
Surgery can place immense stress on the body and an older person, especially one who has had a medical a history of heart attack or stroke may be at a high risk for anesthesia-related problems and post-traumatic stress. In addition, people who have a history of smoking, a history of seizures, or suffer from medical problems that affect the heart, lungs, or kidneys, are also at a high risk for anesthesia-related complications. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that results in interrupted sleep, are also at a higher risk of anesthesia-related complications. Sleep apnea is often associated with obesity, which also happens to be another major anesthesia risk. Patients, who have a history of drug allergies, or have a history of heavy alcohol use in their past must also inform their doctors about this history.
Ensure that you inform your surgeon and your anesthesiologist of all of your health problems before you are scheduled for surgery.
If your loved one has suffered an anesthesia injury during an operation, speak to an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at the law firm of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson and Kennedy, LLP. They will help you ascertain your legal options and assist you with your case.