Children may be harmed by anesthesia during surgery

By Greg Kohn

The prospect of undergoing a surgical procedure is not easy for most. This anxiety only increases when parents of young children must face similar decisions regarding surgical options for their children.

Due to the invasive nature of surgeries, concerns regarding any surgical procedure are warranted. Parents in New Jersey may find it interesting to know that a new study found that toddlers and babies exposed to anesthesia during surgery had a slightly increased risk of developing reasoning and language problems.

Giving anesthesia to a child inherently carries a risk, and physicians routinely evaluate those risks against the benefits of the proposed surgical procedure. Unfortunately, doctors are not entirely sure how exposure to anesthesia may damage the child’s brain, but believe that it could cause some brain cells to die and interfere with signals that brain cells send to each other during brain development.

The study noted, however, that despite this slightly increased risk, a majority of children do not develop problems. Nonetheless, the study also stated that the long-term impact or repeated exposure to anesthetics for children remains unknown.

In life-threatening situations, surgery may be best course of action, but it is still crucial for parents to be informed. Despite efforts to find the best treatment options, hospitals and surgeons, mistakes during surgery may occur. The operating room is dynamic, but sometimes that very environment may result in surgical mistakes such as an inappropriate amount of anesthesia, error during the procedure, improper techniques and damage to other organs.

All healthcare providers have an ongoing duty to provide treatment to patients that is in accordance with a reasonable standard of care. If that duty is breached and a surgical mistake results in harm or death, the healthcare provider, such as the doctor, surgeon, specialist, nurse, hospital and any other affiliated party may be held responsible for the damages caused by the negligent care.

Patients who have suffered a serious injury during a procedure or lost a loved one may be entitled to just compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, funeral expenses and more. Contact our law firm!

Source: MedCity News, “Anesthesia in early childhood may affect language skills later in life,” Genevra Pittman, Aug. 20, 2012

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.