Anesthesia is a drug used everyday to block pain signals from traveling through the nervous system. There are several different types of anesthesia:
- Local Anesthesia – is a technique used to cause a temporary loss of sensation or feeling in a small area of the body such as a tooth.
- Regional Anesthesia – is a technique that causes insensitivity to an area larger than local anesthesia such as an arm or leg.
- General Anesthesia – is a technique that renders the patient unconscious with a loss of protective reflexes.
Unfortunately, anesthesia is sometimes administered incorrectly and results in anesthesia awareness. Anesthesia awareness is where a patient receiving general anesthesia remains aware of all events during the surgery instead of being unconscious. Victims of anesthesia awareness are able to feel pain but unable to move or communicate in any way that they are actually conscious.
A study published in “Anesthesia and Analgesia” estimated that 40,000 people a year in the United States are victims of anesthesia awareness. As a result many of these people suffer from recurring nightmares and many other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The most common victims are those who have been involved in a major trauma, or heart surgery. This is because a lower dosage of anesthesia is generally given in those cases to reduce stress on the heart.
If you have suffered or continue to suffer as a result of anesthesia awareness do not be afraid to contact a medical malpractice lawyer. It is important to know your rights as a victim.