Surgery and Anesthesia Following a Car Accident

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July 11, 2019
Edward Smith

Surgery and Anesthesia Following a Car Accident

After a serious car accident, an injured person may have to overcome multiple hurdles to make a recovery. While some injuries may need physical rehabilitation, others may require surgery to repair. Some of the issues that should be discussed as someone is preparing for surgery is anesthesia and the risks of complications.

Do I Need Surgery After a Car Accident?

Those injured in a car accident will often need surgery as part of their path to recovery. Following are some of the common injuries suffered in a car wreck that may require surgery:

  • Back and Neck Injuries: The force of the impact involved in an auto accident can cause trauma to the neck and back. Chiropractic care, medications, and physical therapy are often needed for the treatment of back and neck injuries. However, such procedures may not be successful in allowing mobility or relieving the pain. Surgery may be necessary under these circumstances.
  • Brain Injuries: A blow to the head in a car crash can sometimes result in a brain injury. Some of the most common brain injuries include concussion, intracranial hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). While some brain injuries such as a TBI may heal over time without any surgical intervention, others may require immediate attention. Increased intracranial pressure may result from a brain swell or an increase in the amount of fluid accumulating in the brain. Surgery may be needed to remove a portion of the skull to relieve the pressure. A monitoring device may also need to be implanted to check the patient’s pressure as he or she recovers.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt trauma to the abdomen can result from seat belt injury in a traffic collision. Such trauma can cause organ rupture or internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity. The seat belt may also cause damage to the intestine when a severe crash is involved. This is typically caused by bruising or ecchymosis to the area. Other internal injuries can be caused by contact with the airbag or steering wheel during an accident, resulting in vascular damage. Such injuries require surgical procedures to repair any damaged organs and stop the bleeding. In other cases, organ removal or transplant may be necessary when the damaged organs are beyond repair.

When is Anesthesia Needed for Surgery?

General anesthesia is a combination of medications used to induce unconsciousness before a surgical procedure. It is administered by anesthesiologist either through an intravenous (IV) line or a breathing tube or mask. General anesthesia is typically recommended for surgical procedures that expose you to a cold environment, result in significant blood loss, or take a long time. It is also recommended for surgeries that may affect your breathing, particularly those involving the upper abdomen or chest. To learn more about how anesthesia affects your body and brain, watch the below video.

What Are the Risks of Anesthesia?

Anesthesia errors occur every day in surgical centers, physician’s offices, and hospitals. Such mistakes can result in catastrophic injury or death to a patient. Some of the common types of errors in administering anesthesia include the following:

  • Patient Assessment Issues
    • Delay or failure to order diagnostic tests
    • Inadequate pre-operative evaluation
    • Insufficient identification of risk factors for the patient
    • Failure to provide proper instructions to patients before the delivery of anesthesia
    • Failure to address abnormal findings or consider clinical information
  • Technical Performance
    • Administering the incorrect dosage of anesthesia, either too little or too much
    • Improper positioning of the patient
    • Delayed response to a clinical alarm
    • Error in medication dosage
    • Failure to monitor the delivery of oxygen
    • Inadequate or delayed treatment
    • Incorrect estimation of blood loss
    • Lack of recognition for vital signs
  • Communication and Documentation
    • Communication issues between the medical provider and the patient and his or her family
    • Inadequate transfer of care
    • Insufficient documentation
    • Lack of informed consent for surgical procedures

Possible Anesthetic Injuries and Complications

Any surgery involving the use of general anesthesia can carry its own unique risks of complications. The most common complications from anesthesia include:

  • Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction from the exposure of anesthesia
  • Asphyxia
  • Blood clots
  • Brain trauma due to insufficient oxygen
  • Dental damage due to improper placement of the breathing tube during the surgery
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Larynx damage
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nerve damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Wrongful death

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Injuries from a car accident or anesthesia error can result in financial, physical, and emotional hardships for not only the injured person but also for their family. The thought of seeking assistance from an experienced Stockton personal injury attorney after such a traumatic event may seem farfetched. However, there is a limited amount of time an injured person has to take legal action. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years from the date of injury or one year after the injured person discovers the injury, whichever happens first. This is by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5. Conversely, there is a two-year window to bring a personal injury claim under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. Since the amount of time you are allowed to file may be affected by specific exceptions, it is essential to contact an injury attorney to determine what deadlines may apply in your case.

How a Lawyer Can Help

There are a few reasons why it is essential to contact an experienced injury lawyer promptly if you have been injured in a car wreck or suffered complications through medical malpractice. A lawyer can conduct an independent investigation into the incident to prove negligence on the part of a driver or medical provider. Since evidence can be lost, destroyed, or covered up right away by negligent parties, it is critical to retain an attorney as soon as possible. This way, the attorney can secure vital evidence and prepare a strong case for fair compensation on your behalf.

Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury lawyer. Surgery after a car accident can be costly and traumatic for the injured person and their family. If the crash was caused by the negligence of another driver, an experienced injury attorney could help recover compensation for injuries and damages incurred. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly case advice.

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