Anesthesia is a fine-tuned form of medicine. During surgery or any medical procedure that would otherwise cause unbearable pain, anesthesia is intended to help the patient go into a deep sleep — and feel no pain.
Anesthesiologists remind us that anesthesia is not only about putting people to sleep. Equally importantly, they should wake up again. Anesthesia errors generally fall into two categories:
- Failing to give a patient enough anesthesia, with the result that the person feels pain during surgery.
- Giving a patient too much anesthesia — sometimes resulting in coma, brain damage or other negative outcomes.
Anesthesiologists are essentially pain management doctors who meet the needs of patients during naturally painful medical procedures. They administer a variety of pain relief solutions, including epidural treatments, injections and gas mask treatments. When something goes wrong, a skilled anesthesiologist knows how to respond and protect the patient’s well being.
The consequences of an anesthesia mistake can be severe — such as a woman whose epidural was administered in the wrong location. Fluids leaked from her spinal cord, and the result of the bad epidural is that she will live out the rest of her life in a vegetative state.