I’ve been told that the cause of my spouse’s death during surgery was anesthesia aspiration. What exactly is that?

In order to control the pain of surgery, your loved one’s doctors felt that it was best to put him under general anesthesia. However, when your loved one was put under general anesthesia for heart surgery, brain surgery, or another type of medical procedure at a Louisville area hospital, several things happened to his body. He was no longer able to breathe on his own, regulate his own heartbeat, swallow, cough, or take control of his own digestive system. All of these automatic bodily functions were instead controlled by machines and medications.

An Error Can Be Fatal

The anesthesiologist must watch each patient closely for potential complications. One of the potential complications is anesthesia aspiration. This occurs when a patient cannot swallow or vomits up food from his or her stomach until his or her lungs. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia and it can make it difficult to get enough oxygen. Aspiration pneumonia and lack of oxygen can both be fatal—they may also be preventable.

Generally, there are two ways that anesthesia aspiration deaths can be prevented. First, your anesthesiologist should clear you for surgery. This means, that absent extenuating circumstances, your stomach should be clear of food prior to surgery and that your doctors should watch you closely during surgery for signs of aspiration.

What to Do If Your Loved One Died From Anesthesia Aspiration

If you have been told that your loved one died from anesthesia aspiration then it is important to find out more about your legal rights and possible recovery. Your loved one may not have had to die in this way. Please fill out our online contact form or call us directly to learn more.