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Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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No system helps anesthesiologists prevent wrong syringe errors

Many protocols have been developed by hospitals in Texas to reduce surgical errors, but anesthesiologists are largely on their own. An anesthesiologist calling for safety improvements within the profession pointed out that anesthesiologists have no assistants or technical systems to aid them when they select and prepare drugs for a patient.

He said that patients basically rely on an anesthesiologist to get every drug dosage correct every time all day long. Anesthesia drug errors fall into two groups. Either the anesthesiologist chose the wrong drug to begin with or grabbed the wrong syringe. Using a syringe filled with the wrong drug at the wrong time could have deadly consequences. This was the problem when an 11-year-old boy died during a surgery 15 years ago. The anesthesiologist had given the wrong drug without realizing it.

Problems like this could be avoided if syringes were pre-filled with prescribed drugs prior to the surgery. These might be prepared by drug manufacturers, or the anesthesiologist could work with a hospital pharmacy to fill the syringes. Labeling the syringes with a barcode that the anesthesiologist scans before administering could provide an alert when the wrong syringe has been picked up.

Medication errors could lead to serious injuries or allergic reactions. A patient who experiences harm in a medical setting might want a case evaluation from an attorney familiar with medical litigation. The legal standards to prove medical negligence are set high, but an attorney may build a case by gaining testimony from an independent physician. After filing paperwork for a malpractice claim, an attorney might gain a settlement offer for the injured patient. If the offer does not appear sufficient to compensate a victim for pain, lost income and additional health care bills, then an attorney could present the case to a jury.

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