Every year in the UK, an estimated 3.5 million operations are conducted, in which anaesthetics are given and continually monitored to ensure the patient remains unconscious throughout the entire procedure.
An error made by an anaesthetist when administering or monitoring the anaesthetic can, however, cause disastrous and severe, life-long disabilities for the patient.
A patient is always owed a ‘duty of care’ and if there are strong reasons to believe that a mistake was made and the or the standard of care given by the anaesthetist fell below what is reasonable to expectation, then there may be a could be good grounds to enter a case ofor clinical negligence
If you believe there were unexplained difficulties or complications... in the correct provision or monitoring of the anaesthetic during an operation, we can help you to investigate if you have not received the answers you need or of you are unable to make those enquiries yourself. We recognise that when a patient has been injured you need to know you may feel you are not able to get an adequate, official response or are being prevented from finding out how and why the system failed your and your family.
To prove a clinical negligence case you need specialist lawyers who have knowledge of both the law legal and medicine. At Your Legal Friend we are specialist we are al issues together with a sympathetic and sensitive understanding of how you and your family have been everyone involved is affected because we have acted for many clients like you.
Your first step should be ... to discuss your concerns and the specific circumstances before, during and after surgery with our dedicated clinical negligence team at Your Legal Friend.
Your Legal Friend has specialist lawyer 30 years experience in successfully resolving many different types of cases. Our dedicated clinical negligence team who can help you obtain an explanation for why a “routine procedure went wrong” and proper secure full compensation for to cover the often lifelong consequences of a failure to properly administer or monitor an anaesthetic.
Accidental awareness during general anaesthesia (AAGA) – more commonly referred to as ‘anaesthesia awareness’- is a known and fortunately rare occurrence, in which a patient remembers awaking and being conscious of their surroundings during a surgical procedure but is unable to communicate to the medical staff.
Specific sensations, which may be recalled include, tugging, stitching, pain, paralysis and choking accompanied by feelings of panic, extreme fear, suffocation and even of dying.
Recent survey statistics
(The 5th National Audit Project NAP5 - Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) Sep 2014)
Difference between ‘general’ and ‘local’ anaesthetic
• A general anaesthetic - is intended to make a patient completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure, or
• A local anaesthetic is applied to numb a specific body area only.
Anaesthesia is consultant-led. This means a senior doctor is present for more than eight in ten of all occasions when anaesthetics are administered and for three in every four occasions when they are administered “out of hours”. The proper A duty of care and a high standard of skill is expected to be maintained throughout.
A range of factors are calculated in the level of anaesthetics administered, including:
Current techniques enable anaesthetists to try and give patients the minimum level of anaesthetic required to reduce the risk of complications, especially if deeper anaesthetic levels may need to be used.
While anaesthetic failures most often occur before surgery starts or after it finishes, patients are at higher risk of experiencing anaesthesia awareness:
Anaesthetics are administered to prevent feeling any sensation or pain, and often also includes a muscle relaxant, which may leave a patient unable to move or make any signal whatsoever.
Patients given muscle relaxants for particular types of surgery, such as cardiothoracic operations and caesarean sections are at a higher risk of suffering complications.
Anaesthetics can be mistakenly injected into the spinal cord or into nerves causing severe, painful injuries and leaving a patient with a serious disability.
A failure by the anaesthetist to correctly regulate a patient’s blood pressure can cause severe brain damage or a stroke.
Post operation symptoms
While research has shown that most incidence of anaesthesia awareness are brief and not a cause for concern, around five in ten episodes have led to patient distress and four in ten cause longer-term psychological harm.
A small number of patients who experience anaesthesia awareness may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and levels of associated anxiety behaviour, including severe phobias, nightmares, insomnia and in very extreme cases, attempted suicides.
Making a claim for clinical negligence in administering anaesthetics
The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) have recommended that before surgery a ‘check list’ for ensuring the correct administering of anaesthetics should be carried out.
However, in any clinical negligence claim it is necessary to prove...
When a routine procedure, such as administering anaesthetics goes unexpectedly wrong, the impact upon all concerned is not only devastating in the immediate aftermath but it could bring lifelong consequences.
As experienced clinical negligence specialists, our task is to ensure:
Your Legal Friend is committed to ensuring victims of clinical negligence obtain the answers they need and the compensation to which they are entitledreceive the justice they deserve, which could prevent others from suffering in a similar way.