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Anesthesia Errors During Labor & Delivery

Lawyers for Maternal and Birth Injuries in Syracuse

Anesthesiologists administer anesthesia to stop patients from experiencing pain during medical procedures, including C-sections or labor. Anesthesia errors during labor and delivery can endanger both mother and child. If you were subject to an anesthesia error during labor and delivery and either you or your baby suffered injuries as a result, you can consult an experienced Syracuse birth injury attorney. When a harmful mistake occurs, it’s critical to determine whether a provider can be held liable for damages arising out of the error.

Anesthesia Errors During Labor and Delivery

Common anesthesia errors during labor and delivery include delays in administering anesthesia, administration of too much anesthesia, administration of insufficient anesthesia, failure to stop or recognize adverse drug reactions between anesthesia and another medication, administration of an incorrect type of anesthesia, failure to monitor the patient while the patient is under anesthesia, failure to determine an anesthesia allergy, failure to give appropriate instructions to a patient before anesthesia, or administering the wrong type of anesthesia. Sometimes a defective device is used during anesthesia or the doctor doesn’t take into account a patient’s positioning and the effect of this positioning on blood supply to a patient’s brain.

Anesthesia errors can result in damage to organs, including the brain and heart. When a mother has an inadequate oxygen supply during anesthesia, the result can be a mother’s brain death where oxygen levels are too low or the hypoxia goes on too long. When an anesthesia error occurs during delivery, and the baby is deprived of oxygen, the result may be cerebral palsy. Sometimes anesthesia errors result in paralysis, blood pressure complications, coma, stroke, or malignant hyperthermia. An error can even be fatal.

Liability for Anesthesia Errors

In order to hold a healthcare provider legally responsible for an anesthesia error, you will need to show: (1) the defendant health care provider owed you and the baby a professional standard of care, (2) the defendant deviated from the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. For example, you may need to show that your anesthesiologist and hospital staff members failed to monitor the fetus through a course of anesthesia the way a competent anesthesiologist and medical team would have, and as a result your baby was born with cerebral palsy.

Under New York’s locality rule, your anesthesiologist or OB-GYN needs to use the reasonable degree of skill and learning ordinarily possessed by doctors in the locality where he practices. In other words, your doctor’s conduct isn’t measured against the conduct of all doctors around the world, but just those doctors in the geographic area where he practices medicine.

In general, a hospital can’t be held accountable for the errors of an anesthesiologist who wasn’t a hospital employee, but was instead part of a group of independent contractors. However, in some cases, it may be possible to impose vicarious liability on a hospital for an anesthesiologist’s medical malpractice under a theory of ostensible or apparent agency. To create apparent agency, there need to be words or actions by the hospital, communicated to you, that give rise to your belief, as well as the appearance, that the agent had the authority to act on behalf of the hospital. You must have reasonably relied on the appearance of authority based on misleading actions or words by the hospital, and accept the anesthesiologist’s services relying upon a relationship between them and the hospital. A knowledgeable birth injury lawyer can evaluate whether this legal theory may be applicable in your case.

Damages

If you can establish liability for anesthesia errors that caused you or your baby harm, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. These are damages intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had there been no errors.

Birth Injury Attorneys for Families in Syracuse

If you were harmed or your baby suffered birth injuries due to anesthesia errors during labor and delivery in Syracuse, you can discuss your circumstances with a dedicated birth injury lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents people in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Oswego, Lowville, Canandaigua, Utica, Watertown, Herkimer, Oneida, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Auburn, Ithaca, Lyons, Elmira, and Wampsville. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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