Medical Malpractice Claims for Waking Up During Surgery

waking up during surgery

Anesthesia is an incredible medical treatment that is used to sedate patients who need to undergo painful surgeries, and some screenings, diagnostic tests, tissue sample removal, and dental work. When all goes well, anesthesia prevents patients from feeling pain during surgery and recovery is smooth and simple.

General anesthesia is supposed to do three important things:

  1. Make the patient fall asleep.
  2. Block pain from the surgical incisions.
  3. Temporarily paralyze the patient’s muscles so they don’t move and injure themselves during the procedure.

What is anesthesia awareness?

Unfortunately, for some patients in rare cases, anesthesia doesn’t work out as planned and they wake up during the surgery. This is called anesthesia awareness and it happens in one or two out of every 1,000 medical treatments involving general anesthesia. Anesthesia awareness is caused by anesthesia errors. If you or a loved one woke up during surgery, you may have experienced pain and trauma from the experience. A medical malpractice lawyer can discuss your legal rights to sue for financial compensation for the harm you endured.

Anesthesia errors

An anesthesia error has occurred when a mistake is made before, during, or after the patient is administered the anesthesia drug. When an anesthesia error occurs, it can lead to anesthesia awareness where the patient may wake up or be alert enough during the procedure to be aware of what is happening and to feel pain while their muscles are still paralyzed. In other cases, the person wakes up during the procedure but cannot feel pain.

Common types of anesthesia errors:

  • Failure to administer an adequate dose of anesthesia, which can cause the drugs to wear off before the surgery is complete or fail to completely render the patient unconscious, block pain, and/or paralyze the patient.
  • Defective medication delivery equipment can lead to an inadequate dose of anesthesia.
  • Failure to maintain the medication delivery equipment, which can lead to an inadequate dose of anesthesia.

Patients who are particularly at risk for anesthesia errors are people who may be sensitive to anesthesia such as those with heart issues or multiple medical conditions and those whose bodies are resistant to anesthesia. In addition, certain surgeries or situations can increase the risk of anesthesia awareness because the normal dose of anesthesia required to keep a patient fully sedated cannot be used safely. Often, situations that don’t allow for the normal dose of anesthesia are emergency surgeries like emergency C-sections or certain types of heart surgeries.

What happens if you wake up during surgery?

Whether the patient can feel pain or not, waking up during surgery can be incredibly traumatizing when the surgical team doesn’t immediately realize that the patient is alert. If the patient can feel pain from the surgical site, it adds to the horror.

Medical malpractice claims for waking up during surgery

If you wake up during surgery, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a medical malpractice claim if the anesthesia error that led to your pain and suffering and other damages was caused by negligence.

In a successful recovery, medical malpractice claims cover all losses, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Medical bills from additional treatment required to repair damage that was caused by you waking up during surgery such as tissue damage at the surgical site
  • Therapy bills
  • Lost wages from time off of work due to trauma or additional medical treatments

The Seattle Personal Injury Attorneys You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.