What Is Anesthesia Awareness?

 Posted on December 15,2023 in Medical Malpractice

Kane County, IL medical malpractice lawyerAlmost 60,000 patients are put under anesthesia every day in the United States. Although many people think of anesthesia as “sleeping,” in reality, when a person is put under anesthesia, it is similar to being in a reversible coma. Anesthesia slows body functions, which keeps a patient unconscious to prevent him or her from feeling any pain. However, death or injury are possible side effects if any factor in the process goes awry. One dangerous issue that many patients experience is anesthesia awareness. If you or a loved one has suffered an anesthesia error, contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer.

Anesthesia Awareness

If an anesthesiologist fails to give the patient enough anesthesia, the patient can be wholly conscious but paralyzed during the procedure. Patients who experience this frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the incident.

It is estimated that each year, 40,000 patients who undergo anesthesia fail to lose consciousness. The phenomenon of staying awake is known as “Inoperative Awareness,” “Awareness with Recall” (AWR), or “Anesthesia Awareness.” Generally, AWR occurs due to an inappropriate amount of anesthesia given in pre-operation procedures. Although the experience can happen to anyone, there are certain patients that are more susceptible, such as:

  • Children

  • Women undergoing cesarean sections

  • Open heart surgery patients

  • Critical trauma patients

  • Patients who are incredibly ill

The Role of the Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists use anesthesia to slow the patient’s body functions to help a patient become unconscious, thus eliminating any pain during a medical procedure. Simultaneously, the anesthesiologist will monitor basic vitals, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate throughout the procedure to ensure the patient's stability. However, the anesthesiologist's job begins well before the day of surgery; in fact, all patients should have a one-on-one meeting to review medical history, current conditions, and risks and fears. The pre-operative assessment is essential in discovering and reducing potential risks before it is too late. When an anesthesiologist is negligent, the problem often begins in the discovery phase. Examples include:

  • Administering an overdose after failure to review the patient’s history adequately

  • Failure to properly educate patients about food, beverage, and alcohol restrictions before surgery

Contact a Kane County, IL Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Have you been injured due to anesthesia or other medical error? Under Illinois law, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the losses your injuries have caused. Call Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated Aurora, IL medical error lawyer to find out what legal recourse you may have for the damages you have suffered.

Share this post: