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What happens when a patient is anesthetized?

There are many uncertainties that may go through a patient's mind before a surgical procedure. This is understandable, considering that in these circumstances, the health of the patient is being placed into the hands of a surgeon who is often someone the patient does not know personally. But because of the title and extensive education, many people trust physicians not to make mistakes. It should not be forgotten that doctors are people, too.

Because they are people, they are capable of making a wrong decision. If that decision results in an injury to the patient, it may result in a medical malpractice case. Such cases seek damages and compensation for unnecessary injuries caused by the decision-making of a medical professional or the faulty training and hiring of medical staff by administrative officials.

One of the most nerve-racking situations for a patient to be in is surgery, especially if they are receiving anesthetics. When a person is put under, she or he is completely out of control. And though it feels like only a few seconds have gone by while anesthetized, the person comes to hours later, after the surgery has been completed. The patient has no idea what went on in the operating room. Mistakes could have been made, surgical tools could have been left behind and injuries could be forthcoming.

According to some, these mistakes do happen and without the knowledge of the patient. If no issues arise, then patients and their families have no reason to look back. But if complications do occur, then those errors may come to light as attorneys dig for the cause and find it occurred during surgery. Interestingly, some report that physicians occasionally participate in what is known as ghost surgery. This is when the surgeon a patient expects to be operating on them is substituted with another individual who may be less experienced.

Medical professionals say this is rare and only occurs during emergency situations, but it does occur. If that physician makes an error that causes unexpected consequences, it may bolster a malpractice case.

Source: Chicago Now, "Shady operating room procedures and medical malpractice," Michael Helfand, Oct. 8, 2012

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