Certain medical procedures are made possible with anesthesia. Different kinds of anesthesia are suitable for different purposes, like general anesthesia for surgeries. 

While anesthesia has various benefits, like allowing you to feel no pain during your procedure, it can also have drawbacks. It can cause brain damage after surgery and lasting neurological problems. 

What Is Anesthesia?

Anesthesia is a type of medication given to patients to help avoid pain during surgery or other procedures. 

There are several types of anesthesia, including:

  • Local anesthesia: This numbs a small area of the body while the patient is fully awake.
  • Regional anesthesia: This blocks pain in a larger part of the body, like an epidural to ease the pain of childbirth. 
  • General anesthesia: General anesthesia allows patients to fall unconscious so providers can perform more intensive, invasive procedures.
  • Sedation: Also referred to as “twilight anesthesia,” sedation relaxes patients and allows them to nap during their procedure.

Anesthesiologists are in charge of administering anesthesia to patients. Additionally, they must monitor patients to ensure the patient’s safety and avoid potential complications. 

Can Anesthesia Cause Neurological Problems?

While anesthesia is necessary for many kinds of procedures, there are downsides. Anesthesia, more specifically general anesthesia, can have long-term consequences on the brain.

The effects of general anesthesia are achieved with a cocktail of drugs that renders patients unconscious and prevents them from moving or remembering anything about their procedure – like a “reversible coma.” These drugs can affect patients differently, and going under can have both short-term and long-term effects.

A patient can go through four stages during general anesthesia:

  • Induction: The patient receives drugs and becomes unconscious.
  • Excitement: The patient’s breathing and heart rate become erratic. At this stage, breath-holding and nausea are common.
  • Surgical Anesthesia: The patient’s muscles relax, breathing slows, and nausea stops, allowing the procedure to proceed.
  • Overdose: The patient’s breathing can falter, and the heart rate may stop.

Anesthesiologists must work quickly to get patients to the third stage and keep them there throughout the surgery. If a patient slips into the second or fourth stage, they could experience a lack of oxygen and suffer brain damage after surgery. 

Anesthesia errors are likely to occur during surgery, including but not limited to:

  • Failure to properly monitor the patient while under anesthesia
  • Adverse drug effects or interactions
  • Delayed delivery of anesthetic drugs
  • Anesthetic medication mistakes, like administering too much or too little of a medication 

Errors during surgery and anesthesia could have lasting effects on a patient, causing serious health problems like brain damage and neurological issues. 

Anesthesia Brain Damage Symptoms

Symptoms of brain damage from anesthesia vary, depending on the extent of the injury. 

Some of the common side effects of anesthesia brain damage include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty with speaking and language comprehension
  • Prolonged confusion
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech

Issues from anesthesia complications could be short-lived, but in many cases, neurological problems could affect a patient in the long term. 

Can You Sue For Anesthesia Errors That Cause Brain Damage?

Unfortunately, some complications from anesthesia are out of the anesthesiologist’s control. However, if you or a loved one suffer brain damage from anesthesia as a result of a medical provider’s negligence, you could have a valid claim for compensation.

Negligence in a healthcare setting is referred to as medical malpractice. Healthcare providers owe their patients a high duty of care. Failing to provide an acceptable standard of care and making mistakes can leave a medical professional open to liability. 

Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney If Anesthesia Caused Your Brain Damage

After suffering brain damage caused by anesthetic errors, do not wait to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer can determine how to handle your case and work diligently toward reaching the best possible outcome. 

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm For Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law

2 Ravinia Dr NE
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346