Many Floridians fear medical procedures. Some might be scared that the operation will be unsuccessful, while others may be concerned that they will be left with unsightly scarring or lingering pain with a long road to recovery. Though these are legitimate concerns, there are much more serious issues that may arise during the surgical process that could leave a patient with a serious injury. In some instances, these matters can lead to death.

Though many of these surgical errors occur during the procedure itself, including retained surgical instruments and nicked organs, some deadly mistakes happen before the first incision is made. This primarily happens with the administration of anesthesia. General anesthesia, though helpful for many, can pose serious risks to others who have specific conditions. Amongst those who may be at risk of harm include those who smoke, suffer seizures, are obese, have high blood pressure, have diabetes, have a history of excessive alcohol use, or suffer obstructive sleep apnea.

Medical professionals should acquire a patient’s complete medical history and ask specific questions prior to administering anesthesia, but sometimes they fail to do so. In other instances, a full medical history is obtained, but is not properly referred to when deciding to use general anesthesia. The results of these mistakes can be tragic. Anesthesia complications can include pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

Therefore, those who are going in for an operation should be sure that their doctor knows and understands their full medical history and any other issues that may affect the administration of anesthesia. If a patient is unsure if a condition is relevant, they should not be afraid to ask. After all, we have to take our health in our own hands as best as we can. When that is not enough, victims may want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the individual whose negligence caused their harm.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “General anesthesia,” accessed on Dec. 11, 2015