When a patient goes in for surgery, they may be filled with anxiety. Often, this fear is caused by the knowledge that they have no control over what is about to happen next. Instead, their fate is in the hands of the surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist. What happens when their worst nightmare comes true? Generally, the outcome depends on several factors, including whether or not fault can be determined. Sadly, a new report has indicated that anesthesiologists are underreporting their mistakes, which could leave some victims uncovered for compensable medical malpractice claims
. Learn more about this potential risk, and how you may be able to mitigate against it.
Underreporting Among Anesthesiologists
Anesthesiologists are the doctors responsible for keeping patients asleep, without overdosing, while they undergo surgery. Unfortunately, medical errors are all too common for these healthcare professionals. In fact, a recent study found 238 instances of self-reported medical mistakes in 434,554 examined cases (only about 5.5 percent of 1,000 cases), yet other studies have determined that incidents are more in the range of one in 100 cases. In other words, the mistakes are not just frequent, but also grossly underreported.
Compounding Risks for Patients
Grossly underreported errors are not the only issue regarding potential medical malpractice injuries. The fact that patients rarely get a say in who their anesthesiologist will be, and may not even know them by name further compounds the risk. They are unable to screen out possible offenders to improve their safety. Further, if the error is not reported, it could be nearly impossible to pin down to a medication error or even a particular anesthesiologist.
Mitigating Against the Risks
If you have surgery planned and have not yet gone, you may be able to discuss your anesthesia options with your surgeon beforehand. Let them know what your concerns are, and request that you have time to meet with and research the anesthesiologist before your procedure. On the other hand, if surgery has already occurred and you or a loved one has suffered injury or fatality, the only risks you can mitigate against are those that may lead to a lack of compensation. In such situations, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help.
Contact Our Rolling Meadows Medical Malpractice Lawyers
At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we fight for the rights and best interests of medical malpractice victims. Seasoned and aggressive, we pursue the most favorable outcome possible in every case. Learn more about how our Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers
can help with your case. Call 847-934-6000 to schedule your initial consultation with us today.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.