Last updated on April 11th, 2022
An anaesthetic negligence claim for compensation could be started if you have experienced pain and suffering during surgery due to medical negligence.
If you need surgery of any kind, you’ll need an anaesthetic to numb your body so that you don’t feel any pain. This process is controlled and monitored by a specialist doctor known as an anaesthetist. As well as looking after you during surgery, their role involves discussing your treatment with you before surgery and finding out whether you’ve had any problems with anaesthetic before. While surgery is largely successful, problems caused by an anaesthetists negligence can and do happen.
In this guide to anaesthetic negligence claims, we’re going to look at why medical negligence errors could lead to a compensation claim including those related to general or local anaesthesia. We’ll also show you what compensation could be paid for any physical or psychological injuries that result.
If you are considering making an anaesthetic negligence claim, we could help. Initially, we offer a no-obligation telephone consultation to assess your claim. After this, you’ll receive free legal advice on your options. If we believe you have a reasonable chance of making a successful claim, one of our medical negligence solicitors could be appointed to your case. To make the claims process less stressful, they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis if they represent you.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make An Anaesthetic Negligence Claim?
- Evidence To Support Anaesthetic Negligence Claims
- Types Of Anaesthesia
- Mistakes That Can Occur With Anaesthetics
- How Much Compensation For Anaesthetic Negligence Could I Claim?
- Time Limits For Medical Negligence Claims
- Fatal Anaesthetic Negligence Compensation Claims
- Using A Medical Negligence Solicitor To Make An Anaesthetic Negligence Claims
Anaesthetic negligence during surgery can seem like minor mistakes but can lead to serious and life-changing injuries. To be eligible to make an anaesthetic negligence claim for compensation, you’ll need to demonstrate that:
- An anaesthetist was negligent and breached their duty of care towards you; and
- As a direct result of the negligence, you felt pain (anaesthetic awareness) or suffered an injury such as brain damage or nerve damage. This is called proving ‘causation’.
In medical negligence claims, the anaesthetist needs to demonstrate that they acted in the same way that, in the same situation, a group of similarly skilled anaesthetists would’ve acted. This is called the Bolam test. Essentially, anaesthetic negligence claims might be possible if the Bolam test fails.
Establishing causation can be achieved by the ‘but for test’. This is where you can say, “but for the actions of the anaesthetist, the patient would not have suffered”. Things aren’t always as clear cut as this of course. Anaesthetic negligence claims can be very complex and tricky to prove. This is one of the main reasons you may wish to take on a medical negligence solicitor. They are likely to call in independent medical experts to review the facts in your case and to try and establish exactly what caused you to suffer.
If you would like us to review whether you have the grounds to make an anaesthetic negligence claim, call our team today on 0800 6524 881.
To try and ensure any compensation settlement is fair, it is important to keep evidence of how you’ve been affected. Therefore, if you are going to make an anaesthetic negligence claim, it may be worth:
- Collating a list of all of your medical appointments before and after the incident.
- Print out any communication you had about the treatment and associated risks.
- Keep a diary of how your injuries have affected your daily life.
- Keep a record of anybody who has had to care for you since the date you were injured.
- Record all expenses that you’ve incurred as a result of the anaesthetic negligence.
- You could also request copies of your medical records but your solicitor will do this anyway as part of your medical negligence claim.
We are happy to advise you on the evidence you already have and whether anything else could help to make your claim successful.
The anaesthesiologist is the one who decides on the type of anaesthetic to be administered. This usually depends on the procedure that the patient is scheduled to undergo.
There are three types of Anaesthesia:
General anaesthesia is administered via the patient’s circulatory system by a combination of injected drugs and inhaled gas. The anaesthetic works foremost on the brain and the bodies central nervous system to render the patient unconscious and also unaware. Following the initial injection, anaesthesia is maintained intravenously with gas and additional drugs.
Local anaesthesia is administered to temporarily reduce or prevent painful sensations in a specific region of the body. For example if the patient is undergoing surgery of the foot, a local anaesthetic is administered by an injection to the foot area so only that area is affected. The patient remains conscious during the procedure.
Regional anaesthesia is used when a larger region of the body is required to be numbed or if the local anaesthetic injection is unable to penetrate far into enough to the site. In this case, the local anaesthetic injection is administered around the major nerves and possibly the spinal cord. This blocks pain from a bigger but still limited area of the body.
Local anaesthesia carries the lowest risk, and general anaesthesia the highest.
Let’s now look at the type so anaesthetic errors that could cause avoidable injuries and result in a compensation claim. They include:
- Monitoring of patient errors.
- Anaesthetic dosage errors.
- Being sedated for too long.
- Delay in administering anaesthetic.
- Failing to explain the risks of surgery and anaesthetic to the patient.
- Failure to spot and respond to complications.
- Failure to intubate.
The consequences of these problems might result in various types of suffering. They can include:
- Anaesthetic awareness. Where the patient feels pain due to ineffective administering of anaesthetic.
- Brain damage. This can be caused by a lack of oxygen due to the failure to intubate.
- Nerve damage. Where the patient has suffered nerve damage resulting from nerve blocks, injections, or epidurals.
Whatever type of injury you’ve sustained, we could help you take action. If you’d like our help with an anaesthetic negligence compensation claim, please call our team today.
If you begin an anaesthetic negligence claim, how much compensation you could claim will usually be calculated based on two heads of losses. They are:
- General damages. This part of your claim is based on how much pain, suffering and loss of amenity you endured.
- Special damages. This is designed to compensate for expenses, costs, and any monetary losses caused by the anaesthetists negligence. You could include care costs, medical expenses, home modifications, travel expenses and lost income.
To help establish how serious your injuries are, you’ll almost certainly need a medical assessment when you claim. This will be carried out by an independent specialist. Where possible, our solicitors can arrange a local appointment for you. The meeting will be used to examine your injuries, discuss the effects of them and to review your medical notes. The outcome of the assessment will be a report containing your medical prognosis.
To help you understand what an anaesthetic negligence claim might be worth, we’ve included a compensation calculator below. It includes a range of injuries and their associated compensation amounts. Please bear in mind that these values are only guideline figures.
If your claim is accepted by one of our solicitors, they will be able to explain the amount you’ll claim once they’ve reviewed everything fully.
Generally, the time limit for medical negligence claims is 3-years. This will either begin from when the negligent action took place or from when you became aware of your injuries (the date of knowledge).
However, in more complicated cases, the time limit might not apply. They involve victims that are under 18-years old and those who don’t have the mental capacity to claim.
In these scenarios, the litigation friend process can be followed. This means that a friend or family member could represent the claimant and deal with medical negligence solicitors on their behalf. The 3-year time limit doesn’t apply unless:
- A child turns 18. In this case, they can claim themselves before they turn 21.
- The claimant regains their mental capacity to represent themselves. In this case, the 3-years begins from the date they recovered.
Where an anaesthetic negligence claim involving a litigation friend is won, the compensation will be managed by the courts. If money is needed to help the claimant, the litigation friend can write to the court and explain how it will benefit the claimant.
It is possible to claim on behalf of a loved one who has died due to anaesthetic negligence. So long as the 3-year time limit did not pass while the victim was alive, a claim on behalf of their estate might be possible.
To find out more about how long you have to make a claim or for help with the litigation friend process, please call our team today.
As we have hopefully shown, proving that medical negligence has caused you to suffer can be tricky. The anaesthetic negligence claims process can include lots of complex and technical medical and legal evidence. We believe that the easiest way to navigate a claim is to ask a medical negligence solicitor to help.
If your claim is accepted by a medical negligence solicitor from our team, they’ll manage the whole process for you. They’ll start by gathering evidence to prove what happened and then arrange for medical reports to support your claim. You’ll be kept up to date throughout and you’ll be able to ask any questions you think of as the case continues.
Ultimately, our solicitors will always try to make sure that any compensation settlement is fair and fully covers your suffering. If you would like to find out more about how we could support your claim, please call today on 0800 6524 881 to speak with a specialist. As mentioned already, our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for any anaesthetic negligence claim they take on.