212-LAWYERS or (212) 344-1000

Anesthesia Errors and Unintended Intraoperative Awareness

Of all the medications used in the healthcare industry, anesthesia is one of the most frequently used and one of the most important. Just about every medical procedure necessitates the use of anesthesia – whether local or general – and unfortunately, due to its complexity, errors can occur.

What is Anesthesia?

In short, anesthesia is a medical treatment that is used to prevent patients from feeling pain during the surgery and other medical procedures.

What is complex about anesthesia is that there are different types of anesthetic drugs, and a cocktail combination of several of these drugs is usually required for a single patient during a single procedure.

Types of Anesthesia

The type of anesthesia selected by your doctor will be dependent on the condition you have, the procedure that is required, as well as your overall health. The types of anesthesia include: 

  • Local Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used for minor, common procedures such as when you need stitches. You are fully alert and awake during the procedure, and the anesthesia only numbs the small area of the procedure.
  • IV/Monitored Sedation Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used for minimally invasive procedures such as a colonoscopy. Your level of consciousness and alertness ranges from minimal to deep depending on the procedure and the amount of sedation necessary.
  • Regional Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used during surgeries of the arm, leg, and abdomen. It is also used during childbirth. You are fully alert and awake during the procedure, but the anesthesia numbs a large part of your body.
  • General Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used for major operations such as open-heart surgery. You are fully unconscious and unalert.

Oftentimes, analgesics (pain medications) and paralytics (muscle relaxants) are used alongside general anesthesia.

What is Unintended Intraoperative Awareness?

Unintended Intraoperative awareness is a very rare condition whereby patients who have undergone surgery utilizing general anesthesia become aware or conscious during their surgery. This means that they can recall their surroundings and events related to their surgery but are often unable to communicate this to their surgeon due to the paralytics that may have been given.

This can be extremely upsetting and in rare cases, patients have reported being fully awake and capable of feeling the pain of their surgery whilst being unable to inform their surgeon due to full body paralysis.

Legal Matters

Although extremely rare (1 to 2 people per 1000 operations), unintentional intraoperative awareness does occur, and the emotional damages can be debilitating. Many patients claim that their unintentional intraoperative awareness was caused by medical negligence and thus pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.

It is crucial to consult with a medical negligence lawyer in such a situation. Unfortunately, because cases of unintentional intraoperative awareness are so rare, it is not yet clear why it occurs and so it is not yet classified as an “anesthesia error.” This is significant, as it affects the validity of your claim and whether you have a viable medical malpractice case or not.

If you consult with a professional NYC medical malpractice attorney, they may be able to help you prove that your unintentional intraoperative awareness occurred as a result of medical negligence. You will then have a valid case of medical malpractice and they will be able to guide you through the entire process that will follow.  


If you believe that you or a family member may have experienced unintentional intraoperative awareness due to medical negligence, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC today and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys.


When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call 212-344-1000 for a free, confidential consultation.

NYC Personal Injury lawyer - RMFW Law Logo Inverted

Get a Free Consultation

No Win No Fee
April Johnson
April Johnson
15:54 30 Jun 23
Easy access to thr firm with a very nice Lawyer
Benjamin Roussey
Benjamin Roussey
19:03 29 Jun 23
No firm gets it done like RMFW. They are the best.They are awesome - for sure.
Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez
19:02 24 May 23
I’ve been in the personal injury field as an investigator for 29 years. All in New York City. Out of all the hundreds of Law Firms I’ve worked with, Rosenberg Minc Falkoff & Wolf, would have to be at the very top of my list. Amazing staff great attorneys.If you want the job done right, these are you guys.
Julio Ochoa
Julio Ochoa
20:49 18 May 23
I highly recommend Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP for their outstanding assistance in obtaining a settlement for an Erb's Palsy birth injury case. Their knowledge, dedication, and compassionate attitude were important in attaining a successful end. Their professionalism and assistance were simply outstanding from beginning to end. I am deeply thankful for their representation and would enthusiastically recommend them to anyone seeking justice in a similar situation.
Aisha Neri
Aisha Neri
20:29 18 May 23
I recently had the privilege of working with Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP on my daughter’s birth injury case involving Erb's Palsy, and I cannot express enough gratitude for their exceptional legal services. From the initial consultation to the successful settlement, they demonstrated profound expertise, unwavering dedication, and genuine compassion for my family's situation.From the very beginning, the team proved their commitment to justice. They thoroughly investigated the circumstances surrounding my child Erb's Palsy birth injury, leaving no stone unturned. Their extensive knowledge and understanding of medical malpractice law, coupled with their deep expertise in birth injury cases, provided us with tremendous confidence in their ability to handle our case.The attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff consistently displayed exceptional professionalism and attention to detail throughout the entire legal process. They meticulously gathered evidence, consulted with medical experts, and built a compelling case that clearly outlined the negligence and liability on the part of the medical professionals involved. One aspect that truly stood out was the genuine care and compassion exhibited by Daniel Minc, Lorraine Licul, and the entire team at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. They treated us not just as clients but as individuals with unique emotions and concerns. They took the time to listen attentively to our worries, provided constant updates on the progress of our case, and promptly responded to our inquiries, ensuring we felt supported and reassured throughout the process. Their empathy and understanding made an immeasurable difference during such a challenging and emotionally taxing time.When it came time to negotiate a settlement, Daniel Minc demonstrated remarkable skill and tenacity. He fought fiercely on our behalf, advocating for fair compensation to cover any potential long-term effects of Erb's Palsy on my child's life. His negotiation skills were truly impressive, as they secured a settlement that exceeded our expectations and provided the financial resources necessary to support my child's future needs.I cannot recommend Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff highly enough to anyone seeking legal representation in Erb's Palsy birth injury cases or any other medical malpractice matters. Their extensive experience, unwavering dedication, and empathetic approach make them an exceptional choice for families navigating the complexities of birth injury litigation. Thanks to Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, my family now has the means to provide the best care and opportunities for my child's future.If you are seeking a law firm that combines legal expertise with genuine compassion, look no further than Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP. They will tirelessly fight for your rights and ensure your voice is heard, providing you with the support and justice you deserve.
Aoki R
Aoki R
17:14 17 May 23
I highly recommend Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP. They are a team of dedicated professionals fully committed to their clients. I have witnessed the firm's amazing work ethic in my experience with their attorneys and Lorraine Licul. Lorraine is a knowledable, empathetic and results-driven professional. Minc is an excellent attorney and I greatly appreciate the firm's expertise.
Michael Levites
Michael Levites
17:42 12 May 23
I have recommended this firm to some of my friends and I heard back only positive feedback about the client responsiveness, diligence and hard work put in by these attorneys. I will continue to refer anyone who suffered a personal injury to Rosenberg Minc..
See All Reviews