Negligent anaesthaesia

What is anaesthaesia?

This has been defined as: loss of bodily sensation with or without loss of consciousness

What then is anaesthetic?

This is simply the drug that causes the loss of bodily sensations.

Are there types of anaesthetic?

Yes, essentially, five types:

  • general anaesthetic
  • local anaesthetic
  • epidural anaesthetic
  • spinal anaesthetic
  • regional anaesthetic

You are most likely to be familiar with the first two or three of these.

A “general” is used during surgery to induce unconsciousness and thus complete lack of perception of pain.

A “local” is used for a less serious surgical procedure; you will remain conscious but the area that is being operated upon will be made free of pain and sensation; it might be used for a tooth extraction for example, or minor skin surgery

An “epidural” is an injection into the part of the spine called the epidural space and is most frequently used as a form of pain relief in child birth, typically to allow the pregnant mother to remain conscious during a Caesarian section.

Errors and their consequences

Hundreds of operations are performed under anaesthetic every single day and the very vast majority of these are undertaken professionally, skilfully, and completely safely and without incident.

However, the understanding and administration of anaesthesia is an extremely complex and difficult subject and, occasionally, errors or oversights are made and the consequences can be simply devastating.

Examples of anaesthetic errors

To understand this, we need to appreciate what exactly an anaesthetist does.

Put as briefly and simply as possible, he/she is responsible for calculating what does is required, checking and setting up the correct equipment for the surgical process, administering the medication and then closely monitoring the patient during the operation and afterwards.

When you understand this, it is easy to see how mistakes can be made.

A variety of injuries or harm can very easily be sustained if things go wrong, from causing the patient to slip into coma, choking, brain damage due to insufficient oxygen, permanent nerve damage, or indeed the anaesthesia may fundamentally fail due to insufficiency or otherwise being ineffective, and leave the patient alert and awake and, more pertinently, able to feel pain.

Failing to keep the airways clear and open can be a cause of brain damage, nerve damage can be caused by epidurals or regional anaesthesia (which is essentially intended to temporarily block nerves near the site of the intended surgery) and of course, the nightmare scenario for so many patients, operative awareness may result from an inappropriate or ineffectual dosage of anaesthetic.

The latter will invariably be profoundly traumatic and often leave the patient with long lasting, severe, psychological problems.

What can Lloyd Green do to help?

Our clinical negligence solicitors’ team has extensive experience of dealing with cases arising from anaesthetic errors of the type mentioned above and others.

We deal with all such cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and therefore you have nothing to lose by contacting us to obtain advice upon making a claim in these circumstances.

All calls that you make to us are completely confidential and are handled professionally and sensitively by our expert team.

We pride ourselves on building real relationships with our clients that are essential to enable us to work together with you to win your case and recover all the compensation for you that the law allows.

We hope that you will not need our expertise but if the worst happens and you do, we know you will feel secure in our hands.


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