Anaesthetic Negligence Claims

If you have undergone a surgical procedure, and your anaesthetic either did not work or caused you harm, you may be entitled to make an anaesthesia claim.

Woman going under anaesthetic

Making an anaesthetic negligence claim

If you have suffered from negligence in relation to anaesthesia, you may have been left with anaesthesia injuries or psychological harm. Going under anaesthetic can be a daunting prospect for patients as they are awaiting surgery.

The application of anaesthesia must conform to strict safety standards, as it is a dangerous procedure. Thanks to these safety measures, errors are rare.

Though rare, mistakes can lead to catastrophic injuries. You can call Blackwater Law and get free initial advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor. The expert solicitor that you speak with will quickly be able to tell you whether you may have a case against the healthcare provider who administered the anaesthetic.

Get expert legal advice

Call today and speak tour team. Find out if you can claim compensation for anaesthetic negligence.

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What is Anaesthetic Negligence?

Being the victim of any error relating to anaesthetic can be catastrophic and cause life-changing injuries to a person. Anaesthesia, both local and general has led to huge medical advances and allowed for more involved and complicated surgical procedures. Despite this, in rare occurrences, it can go wrong.

Usually, negligent anaesthesia will occur due to the following reasons.

  • Not enough or too much anaesthetic is administered
  • The wrong type is used, such as local instead of general
  • The patient is not properly monitored whilst under anaesthetic
  • Free initial advice
  • No win, no fee claims
  • Independently recognised as experts

What damage can be caused by negligent anaesthesia?

Negligent application of anaesthesia can leave a patient with life-changing injuries

  • Brain damage can be caused by a lack of oxygen in the brain
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Allergic reactions

Whilst these scenarios may not always lead to an anaesthesia claim, it is best to speak with a medical negligence solicitor and tell them your story.

In rare instances, a person can regain consciousness, or never fully fall under the anaesthetic. This is known as ‘anaesthesia awareness.’ The results of this can be hugely psychologically damaging and even lead to PTSD-like conditions.

Can you sue for anaesthetic awareness?

Anaesthetic awareness is where the patient either never fully succumbs to the anaesthetic, or regains a level of consciousness during a procedure. It occurs in around 0.1 – 0.2% of operations and is usually caused by insufficient anaesthetic administration.

Although degrees of ‘awareness’ can vary, sufferers have been known to report seeing or hearing parts of their procedure, right up to feeling physical pain.

The outcome of this can involve a lot of trauma for the patient, as well as going on to suffer PTSD-like symptoms.

If it can be found that there was negligence involved in your operation, from an anesthesiologist, for example, you could have grounds to make an anaesthetic awareness claim.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors made a successful hospital negligence claim for the family of an elderly patient who fell out of bed.

Hospital beds in a corridor

Types of Anaesthesia

Modern medicine primarily uses four different types of anaesthesia, designed to minimise pain/discomfort during surgery.

General Anaesthesia

General anaesthesia is perhaps the most commonly known and widely used form in major operations such as heart surgery or hip replacements. It is typically administered via a mask or intravenous application (IV) to render the patient unconscious for the duration of their medical procedure.


Sedatives are more often used in invasive but not major procedures, and as such do not warrant a general anaesthetic. Their effects can vary according to dosage, ranging from mere drowsiness to deep sedation, where the patient will likely sleep through the procedure. Sedatives are generally used for procedures such as tissue biopsies or colonoscopies and may be combined with pain relief medication or analgesics.

Local Anaesthesia

Typically reserved for minor procedures such as applying stitches, local anaesthesia / local anaesthetic is where medicine is injected into the area of the body being operated on to numb it. Once the medication takes effect, the surgery can proceed without needing more potent measures, allowing the patient to remain fully conscious.

Whilst you might feel some pressure or discomfort during the operation, you shouldn’t feel any pain under local anaesthetic, and side effects are generally minimal.

Regional Anaesthesia

Regional Anaesthesia works similarly to local anaesthesia, but on a broader scale – typically to numb a more significant part of the body, such as from the waist down. Normally administered via an injection or a catheter, regional anaesthetics are commonly used during childbirth to relieve pain without the risks associated with exposing the child to drugs.

How long do I have to claim for anaesthetic negligence?

All claims for medical negligence are subject to what is known as a statute of limitations. This means that from the date that the negligence occurred, you have three years to make a claim. If it did not become clear that negligence had occurred until after a medical procedure, the time 3 years will begin on the date that you became aware that negligence had occurred.

There are some expectations to the rule. If the person in question is under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, then the three-year time limit will begin on their 18th birthday. There is also no time limit if the person in question lacks mental capacity.

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How much compensation could I receive for anaesthetic negligence?

The amount of compensation you are entitled to receive from any case of medical negligence will vary depending on the severity of the injury inflicted on you, the lasting effects of this injury and how it has impacted your daily life.

Compensation is split into general and special damages. General damages are awarded for the pain and suffering ensured as a result of the injury. Special damages are awarded based on the long-term impact an injury has on your life, such as being unable to continue working and suffering from a loss of earnings.

Due to people’s individual circumstances, it can be extremely difficult to give figures on how much compensation could be received, there are many factors that go into how compensation is calculated.

No win, No Fee anaesthetic negligence claims

At Blackwater Law, we understand the physical, and mental damage that an incident of anaesthetic negligence can have on you and your family. We also appreciate that the notion of paying legal fees for representation can mean you are put off claiming the compensation you may be entitled to. That is why we undertake all medical negligence claims on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Speak to a member of our team today who can discuss taking on your case at no upfront cost to you.

Blackwater Law client testimonial

I would recommend Blackwater Law to anyone, even If they just need advice.

Mr Shaw, as featured in video above.

Choose Blackwater Law

We have helped a number of clients to seek the compensation and justice they deserve after anaesthetic awareness has taken place. The compensation covers you for the physical and emotional pain caused by anaesthetic awareness and we work together with key medical professionals to put together as robust a case as we can.

The more evidence you can give us, the better, so will ask you to present as many documents to us as you can to show that you have been a victim of anaesthetic negligence. You may find that you need counselling after the experience, and the compensation can help you to arrange the best psychological treatment possible after your traumatic experience.



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