When the Lights Go out You Want to Be Safe September 14, 2010.

There is nothing worse than dreading anesthesia in the hospital. The outcome may not always be good.

If you’ve ever been in a hospital for surgery of some sort, you’ve likely had to talk to the anesthesiologist just prior to your surgery – the faceless entity behind the mask by the machine in the OR that you don’t see when you get there. Most often they visit you before the surgery and let you ask questions.

Sometimes though, this does not happen and you never know the person’s name. Sometimes, the results of having anesthesia are not good. Sometimes, the results change your life drastically enough that it will never be the same again. These are the times when you need advice from a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

In most cases, things go well when you are put under with anesthesia, particularly if it is used properly by a caring and qualified expert. There are relatively few major side effects and most things continue just as they did before your surgery. However, if a mistake is made and the anesthesia is not managed properly, you just might wind up experiencing pain, numbness, difficulty with breathing and mental confusion.

When people think of anesthesia, they tend to think "operation," a big one where the person is knocked out. That isn’t always the case though, as there are a variety of types of anesthesia used for different types of surgeries. For instance, local anesthesia is for surgery on one part of your body. If this is not given in the correct manner, systemic toxicity may occur. Translation: your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing may drop precipitously, necessitating emergency medical care.

Regional anesthesia carries many of the same risks of local anesthesia. However, this anesthesia is injected next to a nerve of the spinal cord in order to numb the region. The long-term potential side effects stemming from a regional anesthesia error include weakness, numbness, and pain. So many things to worry about; so many questions to ask your doctor, or Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer if something goes wrong. Never think that you should not ask a question. It’s your body and you are entitled to know any information you need in order to make informed decisions about your medical choices.

The other category of anesthetic is the complete lights out variety referred to as general anesthetic. By and large, this is usually considered to be the riskier of the three types, simply because it knocks you right out. Errors in this area may lead to strokes, heart attacks, liver damage, heart damage, lung damage, panic attacks and possible death. This isn’t to say this happens all the time, because it doesn’t. It’s just to let you know that there are certain risks inherent in having anesthesia.

If you suspect that you may have been harmed physically or mentally because of an anesthesia error, you really need to speak to a knowledgeable Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer quickly. Don’t let it go and decide a year or more later to do something about it. If you do, you may miss the statute of limitations and be barred from taking any legal action.