Anesthesia and Surgical Errors

A surgical error is a preventable mistake that was made before, during, or following an operation. Anesthesia errors are generally related to incorrect dosing of medications or inadequate monitoring of a patient during or after surgery. If you suspect or believe you or your loved one has been injured because of an error by a surgeon or anesthesiologist, call us. We’ll listen and talk to you about your legal options.

Common Surgical Types

There are a few types of surgical errors that occur. The most common include:

  • Making an incision in the wrong location
  • Operating on the wrong patient or wrong body part(s)
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Leaving surgical equipment is still inside a patient, such as instruments or sponges
  • Nerve damage

Common Reasons for Surgical Errors

The reasons why surgical errors occur are as diverse as the surgeries themselves. However, there are some commonalities:


Suppose a surgeon has not performed a certain procedure a sufficient amount of times. In that case, they may lack the experience and skill level necessary to perform the procedure safely and competently.


Some surgeons have higher complication rates than others. And as the claims mount against these poor surgeons, pressure mounts on hospitals and insurance companies to prevent them from operating.


When surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, or others in the operating room are not as careful as they should be or do not follow procedures, their negligence can lead to serious mistakes, such as instruments not being properly sterilized or items left inside the patient.

Insufficient Preoperation Planning

Surgeons and other healthcare professionals in the operating room must adequately prepare for the procedure they will perform by ensuring that all instruments are available and sterile and that the required equipment is in working order.

Poor Communication

Mishearing instructions or being unable to read another’s handwriting can lead to improperly identifying a mark on the patient’s body or failing to make sure that a surgical tool is on hand and ready to be given the moment the doctor needs it.

Fatigue or Substance Abuse

While hospitals do limit how many hours a surgeon can perform surgery before required rest, surgeons often work long hours performing very detailed, precise tasks. It is tiring work, and they can become more prone to making mistakes as they fatigue.

The stress on surgeons and other doctors is high and some fall into alcohol or drug abuse. No one should ever have an impaired doctor.

Common Anesthesia Errors


Some of the most common injuries that are caused by anesthesia errors include:

  • Asphyxia
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to the trachea
  • Death
  • Coma
  • Heart attack
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke

Anesthesia Awareness

Too much anesthesia can result in coma, brain damage, or death. Too little anesthesia can result in consciousness during the operation. Anesthesia awareness can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other psychological impacts on the patient.

Injuries Caused During Intubation

Intubation is the process of inserting a tube into the esophagus to allow air to flow into the lungs. The patient is connected to an artificial breathing device. Injuries that could occur during intubation include soft tissue hematomas, arytenoid dislocation, and lacerations.

Common Causes of Anesthesia Errors

When a patient trusts an anesthesiologist to care for them during a procedure, it is devastating when that professional falls short of providing the level of care the patient expected. Some of the reasons for injuries include:

  • Failing to provide follow-up care
  • Prolonging sedation for dangerous amounts of time
  • Failing to intubate
  • Delaying the delivery of anesthesia
  • Failing to monitor the patient correctly
  • Failure to inform the patient of pre-and post-procedure care

If you have been harmed or a loved one has been injured or died because of an anesthesia error, our team will fight for you to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.

Our Other Practice Areas:

Mail Icon
Have a case?
User Icon
Email Icon
Phone Icon
Pencil Icon
Other Practice Areas