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When Do Anesthesia Side-Effects Become Anesthesia Errors?

The purpose of anesthesia is to ensure that you are comfortable and pain-free during any medical procedure or surgery. There are 4 different types of anesthesia that are used for specific procedures, and the type of anesthesia you receive is entirely dependent on the procedure you are having done as well as your general health and possibly your own preferences. 

Types of Anesthesia

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is used for minor, common procedures in which you are fully alert and awake. The anesthesia only numbs the small area of the procedure – such as when you receive stitches 

Side-effects of local anesthesia include:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Involuntary muscle twitches

It is extremely rare for a doctor to make an anesthesia error with such a simple and minimally invasive procedure, however, side-effects that indicate that an anesthesia error may have occurred include:

  • Seizures
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties

IV/Monitored Sedation

Also known as “conscious sedation,” this type of anesthesia is used for minimally invasive procedures – such as a root canal. Your level of alertness and consciousness depends on the procedure and the amount of sedation your doctor deems necessary.

Side-effects of IV/monitored sedation include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick
  • Sluggishness
  • Amnesia (loss of memory of what happened during the procedure) 

As with local anesthesia, it is rare for a doctor to make an anesthesia error during these procedures, however, side-effects that indicate that an anesthesia error may have occurred include:


  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties

Regional Anesthesia

Unlike local anesthesia and IV/monitored sedation, regional anesthesia (also known as spinal or epidural anesthesia) is used for more complicated procedures that involve the arms, legs, and abdomen – such as epidurals during childbirth. You remain awake and alert during your procedure, however, a large part of your body is numbed 

Side-effects of regional anesthesia include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Severe headache
  • Feeling sick

Because regional anesthesia is used for more complicated surgeries, it is more likely that your doctor may make an anesthesia error. Side-effects which can indicate that this has occurred include:

  • Hematoma (bleeding around the spinal column)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Meningitis (infection in your brain/spine)
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Difficulty urinating (due to bladder paralysis)

General Anesthesia

This is the riskiest anesthesia, as it is used for major operations – such as open-heart surgery. You are completely unalert and unconscious throughout your procedure. Side-effects that you can expect after general anesthesia include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle aches

Because general anesthesia is used for highly complicated surgeries, it is more likely that your doctor may make an anesthesia error. Side-effects that indicate that this may have occurred include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty urinating (due to bladder paralysis)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Ileus (due to intestine paralysis)
  • Difficulty getting off the ventilator
  • Anesthesia aspiration
  • Pneumonia
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Unintended intraoperative awareness

Legal Matters

Due to the complexity of anesthesia and the variety of anesthesia errors that can occur, it is crucial that you contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you are going to embark on a medical malpractice lawsuit due to an anesthesia error. 

Only a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney, who is familiar with the laws specific to the state of NYC, is able to review your documentation and records in order to determine whether you have a viable case or not. Should you have a viable case, your NYC medical malpractice lawyer will then initiate the proceedings to start a lawsuit on your behalf and guide you through the entire process.


If you believe that you or a family member may have experienced complications due to an anesthesia error, 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.

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April JohnsonApril Johnson
15:54 30 Jun 23
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Benjamin RousseyBenjamin Roussey
19:03 29 Jun 23
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Roberto MartinezRoberto Martinez
19:02 24 May 23
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Julio OchoaJulio Ochoa
20:49 18 May 23
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Aisha NeriAisha 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 RAoki 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 LevitesMichael 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..