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How Do You Prove Anesthesia Malpractice?

How Do You Prove Anesthesia Malpractice?

Anesthesia is one of the most important areas of medicine. Without it, many operations and other serious medical procedures would be impossible because of the associated pain. Unfortunately, the field of anesthesia is not free from mistakes.  

Proving anesthesia malpractice is a challenge best handled by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Here is how your lawyer will work to prove this malpractice on your behalf. 

Understanding Anesthesia Malpractice in New York 

Medical malpractice allows injured parties to recover damages from negligent or reckless medical professionals. When anesthesia is the focus of a claim, the claimant is alleging that a medical professional or facility caring for them failed to provide the care according to established standards of care.  

Keep in mind that malpractice is not the same as a mistake. People are imperfect and make mistakes all the time. However, when an error rises to the level of negligence, malpractice occurs.  

How to Prove Anesthesia Malpractice 

Proving malpractice requires the services of a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney who understands liability in the context of medical malpractice incidents. A simple error is not enough; there must be some act or failure to act that was negligent.  

Common instances of anesthesia negligence include: 

  • Dosage Errors: Too much or too little anesthesia drugs can be fatal 
  • Monitoring Errors: Failure to properly monitor changes in the patient during anesthesia can lead to catastrophic consequences 
  • Oxygen Administration Errors: Negligent monitoring of oxygen saturation and administration in patients during anesthesia can be deadly 
  • Allergy Issues: Medical professionals should be aware of potential allergic reactions to anesthesia drugs and proceed accordingly 
  • Intubation Errors: Anesthesiologists frequently intubate patients to improve their breathing but sometimes intubate erroneously or cause injury 

Other errors include the use of improperly trained personnel and administering and managing anesthesia while drowsy or fatigued. Some anesthesiologists may also work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  


Proving harm is a key element of an anesthesiology malpractice claim. Without some sort of compensable harm, there can be no lawsuit. For example, if an anesthesiologist makes a negligent error but no harm comes about, a lawsuit would be inappropriate.  

Some of the common unfortunate results of anesthesia malpractice include: 

  • Nerve damage 
  • Heart attack 
  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Brain damage 
  • Anaphylaxis 
  • Asphyxia 
  • Stroke 
  • Respiratory distress  
  • Respiratory arrest 

Sadly, many of these consequences cause death or result in long-term pain and suffering for patients, as well as time off work and varying degrees of isolation.  

Certificate of Merit 

Medical malpractice attorneys need convincing evidence to demonstrate anesthesiology malpractice. Before even demanding compensation, attorneys must first obtain a certificate of merit, which is evidence of the potential existence of malpractice rather than definitive proof of malpractice.  

This crucial document contains a statement from the attorney of record that the attorney has consulted an appropriate medical professional regarding the case and that the professional believes the claim has a strong enough foundation to move forward.  

The certificate of merit is a requirement that helps guard medical professionals and the judiciary from baseless malpractice lawsuits.  

Thorough Investigation  

Once an attorney obtains a certificate of merit, they will soon after present a claim to the medical professionals and insurance companies involved. An anesthesiology malpractice claim — or any other type of malpractice claim — requires evidence gathered from in-depth investigations.  

It is the individual pieces of evidence together that ultimately make the case for malpractice. Attorneys must work diligently to gather and safeguard any proof available, such as: 

  • Patient medical records 
  • Witness testimony 
  • Hospital records 
  • Medical bills 
  • Audio recordings and video footage 
  • Journal and diary entries 

Some of these forms of evidence are available immediately after your attorney takes your case. Others come only after the process of discovery has begun.  


Discovery involves the parties turning over evidence to the other side. Attorneys can potentially seek all manner of information during discovery and depositions, such as: 

  • Work and surgery schedules 
  • Check-in and discharge times 
  • Hospital and clinic policies and procedures 
  • Internal records and communications 

Once a malpractice attorney has enough evidence, they can seek payment of damages through a settlement. In some cases, however, defendants in these cases prefer to fight at trial because their license and reputation are on the line.  

Find a Trusted Medical Malpractice Today 

Proving anesthesia malpractice is a complex, technical task, requiring skill and experience in anesthesia cases and medical malpractice law.  

Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. is your premier choice for qualified representation in a New York anesthesia malpractice claim. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today!