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Anaesthetic complications claims &
anaesthesia injuries compensation

Anaesthetic complications claims & anaesthesia injuries compensation

How much can you claim?

While undergoing a Caesarean section, a woman woke up shortly after being injected with a general anaesthetic. She felt excruciating pain as the suregon cut into her abdomen but was unable to move to attract attention. She was awarded:


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Claiming for anaesthetic complications

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

Medical professionals use anaesthetic every day and it’s generally regarded as safe with very few patients experiencing complications. But there are times when medical negligence occurs, leaving a patient injured and distressed, shaking their confidence in the people that are responsible for  their care. Anaesthetic complications can come in a variety of forms, from being aware of a procedure taking place when general anaesthetic has been administered, to long-lasting nerve damage. Complications can both be temporary and permanent, requiring those affected to make changes to their lifestyle and potentially affecting their quality of life. Financial compensation can be obtained if a legal claim is bought successfully. This compensation can help patients who have been injured to get back their independence after a  negligently performed  anaesthetic procedure.

If you find that you’ve been affected by an anaesthetic complication, You Legal Friend is here to provide you with assistance. Backed by years of knowledge working in the legal system and a passion for helping those that have been affected, we can represent you. Right from the very beginning of the process you can rely on us to take our time to understand your experiences and work on your behalf to achieve the best outcome possible in your personal case.

Our team of medical negligence solicitors have the skills and insights to support your case and take it against those that are responsible for the undue suffering that you endured.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making an anaesthetic complications claim

We advise that you start a medical negligence claim after experiencing anaesthetic complications as soon as you are able to. However, you do have up to three years to make a claim.

We recommend starting sooner rather than later as you will better recall your treatment. We will take a witness statement from you  highlighting your  experiences. We’ll also obtain your  medical records, payslips, or travel documents, and these may be easier to get hold of the quicker you take action too.

You do have up to three years to bring a case forward from the date of the negligent treatment or the ‘date of knowledge’. This legal term simply refers to the date that you first realised that your level of care was below what you should be able to expect and that you were injured as a result. In some cases, this point can occur a significant time period after the anaesthetic complication happened. If you need help to understand when your ‘date of knowledge’ was, we can help you.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

As a team of medical negligence solicitors, we are very  experienced in investigating medical negligence claims.. With our skills, we’ll help you unravel the details of your case, highlighting when you must take action by. Should you choose to take the next step too, we’ll be with you every step of the way from the initial contact to representing you in court, if necessary.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of medical negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our anaesthetic complications claims experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of brain injury cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring an anaesthetic complications case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our brain injury team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value anaesthetic complications cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your anaesthetic complications claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard anaesthetic complications claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The anaesthetic complications claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury.  To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for an anaesthetic complication?

Yes, if you’ve been affected by an anaesthetic complication that was the result of medical negligence you can hold those responsible to account. You will need to prove that both medical negligence occurred and that and injury or undue suffering was the result of the action taken.

There are a number of ways that medical negligence can happen during anaesthetic complications. In some cases it is obvious that medical negligence has occurred, for example if you have a known allergy that is misread or overlooked, leading to a life threatening allergic reaction taking place. In other cases it can be more difficult to define. For example, there are cases where a complication has occurred by medical professionals that have failed to take the necessary action to limit the amount of damage, pain, or undue suffering a patient experiences. A legal professional can help you understand your case and whether medical negligence has occurred.

You will also need to show that and injury or avoidable  suffering has occurred as a direct result. Again, this can take many different forms, including be emotionally injured or mentally scared by the experience, having a longer recovery time, or  living with lifelong physical consequences  as a result. Every compensation claim will take into account how you personally have been affected.

Can I claim if a loved one was affected by anaesthetic complication?

You can make a claim on the behalf of a loved one if for instance your child was affected or your partner was. A child cannot bring a claim themselves and so we would ask an adult usually a parent or guardian to stand in their shoes, and be appointed at the child’s Litigation Friend, to bring the claim for them.

Other adults will usually bring their own claim unless they are incapable of instructing a solicitor. We can assess that for you and them. I your partner or family member is just nervous about speaking to a solicitor because it is something they have not done before we can talk you and the patient through the process and we promise to make sure they feel comfortable throughout.

If an adult is found to lack the capacity to instruct a solicitor themselves we will take you through the process of being appointed Litigation Friend.

If the adult does not lack capacity they will  be subject to the same time limitations. Children have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim.

How much compensation will I get?

It’s not possible to say how much your compensation claim for anaesthetic complications would be worth without first speaking to you and understanding your personal experience.

Every case is different.  As specialist  solicitors we take  the time to fully understand its impact of the injury on you before giving you an indication of the likely value. We’ll take all of the relevant  factors into account such as  the amount of unnecessary pain endured; any lost earnings or need for extra care and therapy. If you’re interested in learning how much compensation you would receive for you anaesthetic complications case, you can speak to one of our friendly, professional advisors to take the next step in holding those responsible to account.

How long do I have to make a claim?

All medical negligence claims are subject to a time limit. If you or a loved one has experienced an anaesthetic complication you have three years to bring your case forward.

In many instances of anaesthetic complications it’s immediately clear that a mistake has been made within your care. But there are some cases where the medical negligence doesn’t come to light until further down the road. For this reason, medical claims start from the ‘date of knowledge’, referring to the point that you first realised mistake had been made, rather than when they occurred.

If you’re unsure where your ‘date of knowledge’ falls, the specialist team at Your Legal Friend can help. Backed by years of industry experience, we’ll use our skills to pinpoint your exact date and let you know when you must take action by.

While you do have up to three years to make a claim, we recommend that you do so sooner. Not only does this give you an opportunity to move past the experience quicker but it can help you case too. To support your case, we’ll gather witness statements and other documents, such as medical records, and these are generally easier to obtain the closer to the ‘date of knowledge’ they are requested.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What is anaesthetic?

Anaesthetics are drugs that are used to prevent pain during surgery and other medical procedures. There are a wide variety of drugs that can be used for modern day anaesthetics. Anaesthetics are split into two categories – local and general – both of which are used extensively across the UK and are generally considered safe.

Local anaesthetics – Local anaesthetics are most commonly used for minor surgeries. It’s often given through an injection that temporarily causes loss of sensation in the injection site. Patients remain conscious throughout the procedure that’s being undertaken with just a small area being numbed.

General anaesthetics – General anaesthetics are used for major or more serious operations. It’s used to control consciousness and a patient will be completely unaware that the procedure is taking place before being gradually woken up once it’s concluded. General anaesthetics are often delivered through a gas that you breathe in, allowing those responsible to control and vary the amount necessary.

There are also different types of anaesthetics that can be used in conjunction with one another or used as a pain relief measures. These may include:

  • Regional anaesthetics – These are used by medical professionals to deliver numbness or pain relief to a specific area of the body, it is a local anaesthetic. It can also be used during deeper operations where extensive numbness is needed.
  • Epidural anaesthetics - This type of regional anaesthetic is used to numb the lower half of the body. It’s most commonly associated with childbirth but can be use in other instances too.
  • Spinal anaesthetics - This is a regional anaesthetic that numbs the lower areas of the body. It’s used by doctor to allow them to carry out surgery safely in the area.
  • Sedation – This type of anaesthetic may be used to keep you calm during a minor, painful or unpleasant procedure. The medication can help make you feel more relaxed and sleepy, both mentally and physically.

What is an anaesthetic complication?

As with all types of medical procedures there is an element of risk that’s associated with the use of anaesthetics. Most side effects are very minor, do not last long, and only affect some people using anaesthetic.

Common side effects can include:

  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • Dizziness and feeling faint
  • Feeling cold and shivering
  • Headaches
  • Itchiness
  • Bruising and soreness
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Aches and pain

While these side effects can be unpleasant and frustrating, anaesthetic complications can be more serious. While very rare, thanks to modern medical advancements, anaesthetic complications do happen and can include:

  • Permanent nerve damage – Affecting less than 1 in 1,000 anaesthetic cases in the UK, the peripheral nerves, which run between the spinal cord and the rest of the body, can become damaged. This can result in numbness and paralysis.
  • Allergic reaction – In most cases an allergic reaction to anaesthetic drugs is minor and appropriate treatment should be on hand to allow those responsible for your care to deal with the issue quickly and effectively. It’s estimated that between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 20,000 anaesthetic cases of life-threatening allergic reaction occur.
  • Death – Death due to anaesthetic drugs is very rare. In the UK there are around 10 deaths in every million cases of anaesthetic being administered.

Other potential complications may include:

  • Pain during the procedure
  • Brain damage
  • Awareness during general anaesthetic
  • Embolism

What causes anaesthetic complications?

Anaesthetic complications can occur for a number of different reasons, depending they type of complication that has happened. For instance, nerve damage can occur if an inexperience surgeon inadvertently causes damage or serious, life threatening allergic reactions can happen because you have no knowledge of an existing allergy.

While there are different ways that an anaesthetic complication can happen, there are risk factors that can increase the chances of a complication occurring. These include:

  • Your medical history – Serious underlying medical conditions or illnesses can increase the risk of an anaesthetic complication happening.
  • Personal factors – There are certain personal lifestyle choices that can also increase the risk. There can include being overweight and smoking as it can exacerbate breathing problems.
  • The type of procedure – Procedures that use anaesthetic vary widely and this has an impact on how likely a complication is to arise. For instance, a planned, minor operation if far less likely to experience complications than one that is classed as major and was an emergency.
  • The type of anaesthetic – In more cases, local anaesthetic has advantage over general anaesthetic. However, it’s important to note that there are some operations or procedures that can’t be conducted under local anaesthetic.

While complications can happen, it’s important to realise that they are rare and in modern day medicine the benefits or using anaesthetic outweigh the potential risks in the majority of cases.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What happens during an anaesthetic complication?

What happens during an anaesthetic complication will vary depending on the type that has occurred. But medical professionals should be well trained to deal with all kinds of complications quickly and efficiently to minimise the damage that occurs. This includes dealing with an allergic reaction immediately.

There are cases for legal lawsuits where medical negligence has not caused an anaesthetic complication but has then resulted in the effects being to a greater level of harm because appropriate action was not taken. In these cases, it may be possible to take a compensation case forward as you were let down by the healthcare system in the response that was delivered.

How does an anaesthetic complication occur?

Sometimes an anaesthetic complication is unavoidable, for instance if you have an allergic medical reaction to a substance that you did not know you were allergic too and therefore could not alert staff.

However, in other cases it can be the result of medical negligence. For example, undue care on the part of the doctor responsible can lead to nerve damage occurring or the incorrect amount of anaesthetic being administered or monitored throughout the procedure.

Whether avoidable or not, anaesthetic complications can be distressing. But if it’s linked to medical negligence you may be able to take a compensation claim forward against those responsible for your experience and get the answers and financial compensation that you deserve.

What are the effects of anaesthetic complications?

Anaesthetic complications vary widely and the effects depend on the type of complication that has occurred. For instance awareness during general anaesthetic can be a traumatising experience, while nerve damage can leave you with the need to make lifelong lifestyle change following paralysis.

The effects will vary from case to case and if you take a compensation case forward after experiencing anaesthetic complications this will be taken into consideration.

How often does an anaesthetic complication happen?

Modern advancements in the use of anaesthetics mean that complications rarely occur. In the UK they happen in less than 1% of cases when they are administered, a very small number when the amount of times that anaesthetic is used in both medical and dental procedures are used every day across the country is considered.

According to the NHS:

  • Permanent nerve damage occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 anaesthetics
  • A life threatening allergic reaction happens in between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 20,000 uses of anaesthetics
  • Death happens in around 10 in every million cases of anaesthetic being given in the UK

What are the statistics on anaesthetic complications?

There aren’t exact statistics in the UK that show how often anaesthetic complications happen but figures from the NHS indicate that is happens in less than 1% of cases.

It’s important to note that the type of procedure that is being conducted plays a role too. For instance, one study suggested that 2% of intensive care unit admissions are related to anaesthetic problems and that awareness facing anaesthesia is more likely to occur in obstetrics and cardiac patients.