Anaesthetic Awareness Claims
Anaesthetic awareness is the spontaneous recall of events by a patient during general anaesthesia. This can clearly have very serious consequences for the patient, both physically and psychologically. Should this happen to you, making an anaesthetic awareness claim can help to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused.
If you had surgery under a general anaesthetic and suffered from anaesthetic awareness, contact our team to discuss your case today. Phone us on 0800 014 7481 or complete our online enquiry form for an assessment of your claim.
Anaesthetic awareness can happen at any stage of an operation and involves a patient being able to recall and describe events as they happened. Most reports indicate that it happens for only part of the surgical procedure, however a significant number of patients endure it for the entire operation.
The general incidence whilst the patient is supposedly under the influence of a general anaesthetic ranges up to 1%. The incidence involving pain can be up to 10% in obstetric cases, and the highest incidence occurs during caesarean section, especially when carried out as an emergency operation.
Anaesthetic awareness causes can be categorised as follows:
- Faulty technique - 70%
- Failure to check equipment - 20%
- Faulty equipment - 2.5%
- Justified risk taking - 2.5%
The most common sensations of inadequate anaesthesia include:
- Pain which is most commonly associated with skin incision and insertion of sutures
- Paralysis accompanied by feelings of great distress at being unable to signal wakefulness
- Psychological disturbances including panic, a sense of disaster, a feeling of death or dying with subsequent recurrent nightmares, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, claustrophobia and thoughts of suicide. Some mothers resent their baby for the agony it caused and some are too frightened to have more children or further surgery
Reducing Incidence of Anaesthetic Awareness
Awareness during anaesthesia is a problem that surgeons are well aware of and whilst some people are particularly resilient to anaesthetics there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the incidence including:
- Obtaining a thorough preoperative history
- Adequate premedication
- All apparatus should be checked to exclude faults and malfunctions
- The proper use of all new or unfamiliar equipment should be fully understood
- All syringes should be labelled to ensure the right drug is given at the right time
- Vaporizers should contain sufficient chemicals and monitoring devices should be used to detect inadequate concentration
- Opiate anaesthesia may need to be supplemented for certain resilient patients
How We Can Help
We are a network of specialist solicitors who are members of The Law Society panel of medical negligence experts. We are able to take cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis where appropriate, which means there is absolutely no risk involved for the client. By contacting us today, we can assess your situation to see if you are eligible for a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement.
Legal aid is also available for certain cases involving people who were brain damaged in the womb, during birth, or in the first few weeks of life. We are one of a minority of solicitors who are able to secure legal aid on your behalf.
As a result of anaesthetic awareness, patients often suffer from intense pain and crippling psychological disturbances. If you believe that your anaesthetist was negligent and failed to take proper care of your medical welfare then you may be able to claim compensation.
Talk to Us
For free legal advice, simply complete our contact form and one of our medical negligence experts will telephone you with no obligation. We have highly experienced solicitors including members of the Law Society’s panel of medical negligence experts, so you can be assured that your case will be handled professionally and sensitively. If you prefer, you can contact us on 0800 014 7481 to speak with a member of our team.