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Anaesthesia errors and compensation claims

Medical negligence

Anaesthetics are drugs used during medical procedures to put people to sleep, cause a loss of sensation and/or relieve pain. There are several types of anaesthesia that anaesthetics can be used, and these may be used in combination for some procedures. 

Anaesthetists are responsible for administering and managing the anaesthetics during the procedure – including monitoring critical bodily functions. They are also consulted beforehand to ensure that the correct approach is taken based on the procedure and medical condition/history of the patient. 

Mistakes and errors when using anaesthetics

This is a specialised area of medicine and requires skilled medical professionals to ensure that anaesthesia is carried out and managed safely. However, there are risks and these can have significant consequences. 

Some of the errors in anaesthesia include:

  • Not assessing the patient thoroughly before an operation, leads to either incorrect doses or inappropriate drugs being used

  • Causing damage while injecting the drug, leading to pain nerve damage or paralysis

  • Failure to properly monitor a patient's condition during and after anaesthesia. Changes in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen flow from anaesthetics put some patients at risk of strokes and heart problems.

Medical negligence claims with anaesthesia

Not all mistakes in the administration of anaesthesia are the result of medical negligence.

To prove that negligence has occurred, there has to be evidence that shows:

  1. that the error causes harm or injury; AND

  2. it must be agreed that a similarly trained professional would not have made the same error.

You may be entitled to claim compensation. Start the process with our simple and free online tool.

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What we will ask:

  • Question to help us understand your experience and how your life has been impacted. Your responses will help us define the best course of action for your claim.

What happens next:

  • Either book a no obligation appointment with a medical negligence legal expert right away or,

  • Speak with our team about your options

How Shine can help

We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion per year in entitlements and compensation through our expert services. 

95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court. 

We offer access to affordable legal advice including on a No Win, No Fee* basis and an obligation-free initial consultation so you can understand your rights and know where you stand. 

We are ready to take action, supporting your choice to hold negligent healthcare and medical partitioners to account and right wrong. 

*Conditions apply 


Can I represent myself, or do I need a medical malpractice lawyer?

It is possible to legally represent yourself when making a claim however, doing so successfully will likely require a thorough understanding of the law, your legal rights and entitlements, and a commitment to actively pursue the case to move it forward.   

Independent expert evidence is needed to progress your claim and this can be difficult for an individual to obtain. 

Without the right legal advice and support, you then may not receive the compensation you're entitled to.

Is there a medical negligence lawyer near me?

With more than 40 branches across Australia and 1000+ team members, location is no barrier when it comes to accessing Shine Lawyers legal advice and support 

If you’d like to speak to our Medical Negligence team in person, you can see our full list of location here

If you aren‘t able to find a location near you, we can easily arrange an obligation-free virtual appointment or discuss the option to meet at a location that’s comfortable and convenient for you. No matter where you are located, we will always provide the same, expert advice and manage your claim with the same level of quality and commitment.

Why trust Shine to be my medical negligence lawyers?

At Shine Lawyers, we put your first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve. 

Our empathy, understanding and expertise is why we’re ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way. 

What is anaesthetic?

Anaesthetics are substances that temporarily reduce or take away pain and sensation. Often so that surgery or procedures that would otherwise be painful can be carried out. 

There are two types of anaesthetics that medical practitioners use;

  • General, which makes someone unconscious

  • Local, which numbs specific areas of the body

What are the types of anaesthesia?

Anaesthesia can be roughly divided into four different categories: 

  • Local anaesthesia – a local anaesthetic injected into the tissue below the skin, usually used for minor surgeries (during which the person is awake). 

  • Regional anaesthesia – a local anaesthetic injected around nerve bundles to numb sensations in a larger area, such as the thigh or forearm. Epidurals are an example of regional anaesthesia. 

  • Sedation – aims to relax the patient, making them sleepy and relaxed during a procedure. People often remember little of the experience afterwards. 

  • General anaesthesia – Used for major surgeries/operations when a person needs to be unconscious. Requires an anaesthetist to monitor their condition while they’re ‘under’.

Are there common mistakes in anaesthesia? 

Anaesthetists are specialist medical professionals and thousands of patients are given anaesthetics across Australia every day. Mistakes are rare; however, they do occur. 

Some of the errors in anaesthesia include: 

  • Not assessing the patient thoroughly before an operation, leads to incorrect doses or inappropriate drugs being used. 

  • Causing damage while injecting the drug, leading to pain, nerve damage or paralysis 

  • Failure to properly monitor a patient’s condition during and after anaesthesia. Changes in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen flow from anaesthetics put some patients at risk of strokes and heart problems.

What your anaesthetist needs to know 

Prior to surgery, it is crucial that your anaesthetist has a clear understanding of your medical history, current medication, fitness and lifestyle. Some of this key information includes: 

  • Reactions to anaesthetics in the past 

  • Allergies 

  • Current prescription drugs 

  • Smoking and drinking 

  • Use of illicit substances 

  • Recommendations from related specialists

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