Individuals of all ages might struggle with numerous conditions that make anesthesia a significant risk. It is up to the doctor, nurses, surgical team and anesthesiologist to account for these risk factors and adjust any treatment or procedures. Common risk factors can include:
- Health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems or lung conditions.
- Neurological disorders including seizures.
- A history of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or sleep apnea.
- A history of allergic or other adverse reactions to anesthesia.
- A history of smoking, drinking or obesity.
These individuals might suffer devastating, life-threatening conditions as a consequence of anesthetic negligence, including:
- Postoperative delirium or cognitive dysfunction: These conditions are generally characterized by long-term memory issues and learning challenges. This condition can make it more difficult to process information and is a greater risk to older patients as the brain is more fully formed and the aging brain does not recover from anesthesia as efficiently.
- Malignant hyperthermia: This condition generally leads to patients suffering a quick fever and muscle contractions during the surgery. A history of heat stroke or previous instances of malignant hyperthermia can lead to this condition.
- Difficulty breathing: Either during or after the surgery, some patients can suffer breathing problems due to an anesthesia reaction. Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea might have a reaction to the anesthesia that causes the throat to close up during surgery.
These are serious, potentially deadly, conditions that can all result from anesthesia reactions. Your physician, surgical staff and anesthesiologist need to be aware of any prior history of difficulties and must maintain constant monitoring during the procedure so they can recognize and correct any issues that arise. If you or a loved one has suffered medical malpractice, it is wise to discuss your legal options with an attorney.