Certain medical procedures require the patient to receive some form of sedation (ranging from a light sedation commonly called I.V. sedation that results in the patient being relaxed and feeling sleepy and causes the patient to forget the procedure and the time immediately afterwards but enables the patient to follow simple commands, to full anesthesia that results in unconsciousness where the patient needs a breathing tube and ventilator support in order to breath).
I.V. sedation (also called “twilight anesthesia”) is often used when the procedure does not require extensive surgery or a long duration. This type of sedation usually results in less nausea and less recovery time for the patient. Many dental procedures and some plastic surgery procedures are done using I.V. sedation.
Another common use of I.V. sedation is during a pain management procedure when steriod injections are given in the back or neck to relieve back or neck pain. The steroid injections are typically given in a series of injections and the procedure may be repeated periodically because the effectiveness of the injections wears off over time.
When sedated, patients are typically unable to provide for their own safety and must rely on the supporting staff to take appropriate precautions to insure their safety. Failure to adequately provide for patient safety while he or she is sedated may foreseeably result in the patient suffering injuries while sedated. One of the most common unexpected outcomes during sedation is injury due to falls.
A Louisiana woman filed a medical malpractice case on January 20, 2012 against her pain management doctor and others for the alleged injuries she suffered when she fell from a procedure table after she received sedation in anticipation of receiving steroid injections in her back for treatment of her severe back pain. Her medical malpractice lawsuit claims that when she woke up after being sedated, she was advised that she had fallen from the procedure table and that the injections were not given.
The medical malpractice case alleges that the woman suffered a head contusion, dizziness and headaches, and lower back pain into her right leg as a result of her fall while she was sedated, and that her injuries have resulted in depression, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms.
Injuries sustained while under sedation or anesthesia are not very common but do occur. Sometimes the cause of the injuries is documented in the medical records maintained by the anesthesiologist, surgeon, or support staff such as nurses, and other times the medical records are either silent as to what may have occurred or the records may be less than fully honest or precise as to what occurred, or the records may be fraudulent as to what happened (or did not happen).
Because patients are typically unaware of their surroundings or what may have occurred during a medical procedure due to the effects of the sedation or the anesthesia, medical malpractice claims based on occurrences or omissions while the patient’s mental status or memory are compromised are some of the most difficult medical malpractice wrongs to uncover unless and until someone with knowledge of what occurred (or did not occur) comes forward or otherwise provides testimony in support of the medical malpractice claimant’s allegations.
The assistance of a medical malpractice attorney in investigating a possible medical malpractice claim based on events that occurred while the patient was sedated or unconscious may mean the difference between suspecting that medical malpractice may have occurred and proving that medical malpractice was the cause of your injuries.
Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be willing to undertake the investigation into your medical malpractice claim for you. You may also call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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