Personal Injury Attorney - New York City, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, NY
Your Injury
IS PERSONAL In all the ways it affects you. We can help.
Malpractice is a violation of trust. Your rights matter.
Accidents involve terrible losses. Turn to our expertise.

Medical Malpractice as a Result of Anesthesia Provider

Anesthesia is so commonplace today, it’s hard to believe that what we now know as “modern anesthesia” has only been around since 1846, when a Boston dentist first used nitrous oxide gas to help alleviate a patient’s pain during a dental procedure. Prior to that, doctors were limited to primitive means of limiting pain, and most surgeons relied on speed instead of skill during surgery due to the lack of anesthetic. Anesthesia has come a long way since then, and doctors use it routinely during a wide range of surgical procedures.

However, anesthesia is still a potentially dangerous part of any medical procedure, and it requires a skilled, experienced, and competent doctor to administer it. Unfortunately, anesthesia mistakes can cause a patient to suffer catastrophic harm. In the most devastating cases, a patient dies due to an anesthesia provider’s negligence.

What Is Anesthesia?

An individual doesn’t need to be completely unconscious to experience medical malpractice as a result of an anesthesia provider. There are various forms of anesthesia, and a doctor’s mistake can occur with any one of them.

General Anesthesia – This is the type of anesthesia with which most people are familiar. When you undergo general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious. In most cases, the doctor must insert a breathing tube to help you keep breathing.

Regional Anesthesia – Regional anesthesia is used to numb a large area of the body, such as a spinal block or epidural anesthesia used during childbirth. When regional anesthesia is used, the patient retains consciousness.

Local Anesthesia – Local anesthesia anesthetizes a small section of the body, such as a limb where a patient is receiving sutures.

One survey of over 2,200 members of the Canadian Society of Anesthesiologists found that 30 percent of those doctors admitted to making at least one anesthesia error over the course of their practice. The journal Anesthesiology reports that “each year in the United States, anesthesia/anesthetics are reported as the underlying cause in approximately 34 deaths and contributing factors in another 281 deaths, with excess mortality risk in the elderly and men.”

How Do Anesthesia Mistakes Occur?

Anesthesia errors can happen in a number of ways. Research reveals that the most common type of anesthesia-related medical malpractice is the wrong drug dosage. However, there are numerous other mistakes that are known to occur when an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist makes a mistake.

Dosage Mistakes – Anesthesia drugs are extremely powerful. When a doctor gives a patient too much of an anesthesia drug, it can stop a patient’s heart or cause other emergency situations. Anesthesia dosage mistakes can occur when a doctor gives a patient the wrong amount of drug, or when a doctor mistakes one anesthesia drug for another. These types of errors can also happen when a doctor fails to check for drug allergies or drug interactions.

Intubation Injuries – The failure to intubate can cause a patient to suffocate or stop breathing. An improperly placed intubation tube can also cause major injuries or death.

Failure to Monitor – When a patient is under the influence of anesthesia drugs, it’s imperative for the anesthesiologist or other qualified health professional to monitor the patient’s heart rate and other vital signs. A failure to monitor can lead to a cascade of complications that result in serious injury or death.  

Lack of Oxygen – It’s extremely important for a patient to receive adequate oxygen during sedation. A lack of oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage and even death.

Birth Injuries – Anesthesia plays a role in the majority of births, from epidurals placed during vaginal births, to spinal blocks used in cesarean section deliveries. Not only can mothers sustain serious injuries, such as nerve damage and paralysis, due to anesthesia mistakes, but anesthesia errors can also harm unborn babies. For example, a baby deprived of oxygen during the birthing process due to an anesthesia mistake can suffer a permanent brain injury.

Anesthesia Awareness – Anesthesia awareness is a condition in which a patient regains some level of consciousness during surgery. In many cases, a patient can’t speak or alert medical staff, but the patient can feel pain. This is a horrifying experience for patients that can leave them with lifelong emotional and physical pain and trauma. Some patients who experience anesthesia awareness also develop post-traumatic stress disorder that makes it difficult or impossible for them to seek medical help when they need it.  

Post-Operative Complications – Anesthesia can also cause patients to suffer post-operative complications, such as pneumonia, bleeding, and post-operative pain. When these conditions are improperly or poorly managed, patients can sustain serious injuries. In some cases, patients pass away due to complications from anesthesia, such as pneumonia caused from lungs that never recover from intubation. Other patients experience life-threatening blood clots in their lungs or extremities due to mismanagement of their circulatory system while being anesthetized.

Anesthesiologist’s Liability for Medical Malpractice

Because many anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists are independent contractors rather than employees of the hospitals and surgery centers in which they work, patients don’t always know how to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against them. Most jurisdictions also have narrow time limits in which patients are permitted to file a medical malpractice claim.

This is why it’s important for patients who suspect they’ve been a victim of medical malpractice as a result of an anesthesia provider to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.    



Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC

Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.

Jonathan C. Reiter NYC Injury Lawyer

New York City Personal Injury Lawyer / Aviation Accident Attorney


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Lenox Hill Hospital

A 652-bed teaching hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital is located in the Lenox Hill neighborhood at 100 E. 77th Street. This 652-bed on the Upper East Side of Manhattan serves mostly patients from Manhattan, but other patients are admitted from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island and throughout the tri-state region. Anyone who suspects negligence after treatment should speak with an experienced attorney immediately.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Bellevue Hospital Center

Bellevue Hospital Center at 462 1st Avenue has 828 beds and experiences 115,797 emergency room visits each year. Bellevue had a higher rate of infections compared to hospitals in other states, according to a New York State Department of Health Report in 2009. Anyone who is injured by the negligence of a doctor or nurse at this Manhattan hospital, the oldest in the United States, will need an experienced attorney with experience and resources needed to take aggressive action.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital

Lower Manhattan Hospital at 170 William Street in New York is one of the main campuses of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. This hospital, with 170 beds, provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services. According to an article in the New York Post, New York-Presbyterian scored 18 percent below average for patient safety in a ranking of hospitals by Consumer Reports magazine. Patients who suspect medical malpractice should not hesitate to arrange a consultation with a New York City attorney who can investigate and hold the negligent medical care provider accountable.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

The main hospital known as the Petrie Division is located at First Avenue and 16th Street. But Mount Sinai Beth Israel has other campuses, including Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at Union Square. Mount Sinai Beth Israel is a teaching hospital with 1,368 beds. If you suffered any form of negligence while being treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, take action immediately to protect your rights.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at 1275 York Avenue in Manhattan provides cancer care to patients. The hospital is composed of two institutions: Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, which provides patient care, and the Sloan Kettering Institute, which is focused on research. Patients who suspect a failure to diagnose cancer or some other type of hospital negligence can contact a lawyer to discuss options.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital at One Gustave L. Levy Place is a 1,048-bed facility founded in 1852. It is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the country. Consumer Reports rated Mount Sinai 31 percent below average for patient safety. If you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice at any Manhattan hospital, don’t wait to contact an attorney to find out if you have a case. You may be entitled to compensation.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center

St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center at 1111 Amsterdam Avenue was ranked No. 14 out of the 30 worst hospitals for patient safety, as identified by Consumer Reports. The magazine examined four key measures of patient safety: hospital-acquired infections, readmissions and the quality of communication between staff and patients in regard to medications and discharge planning.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at 630 West 168th Street was described by a lawmaker as having “horrendous conditions.” Emergency room wait times last an average of 85 minutes, which rank among New York’s 10 worst. Any patient who was treated at the 995-bed hospital in Washington Heights and suspects negligence should not hesitate to speak with an attorney for a free consultation.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Harlem Hospital Center

Harlem Hospital Center at 506 Malcolm X Blvd. received a 20 on a 1-to-100 scale gauging patient safety by Consumer Reports. The hospital received the second worst score in the nation, according to a New York Post report. Harlem Hospital told Consumer Reports it needs to improve in some areas, according to the Post. The hospital is a general medical and surgical hospital with 272 beds.