PACU Negligence - Medical Malpractice Attorney

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Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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The PACU, or post-anesthesia care unit, is arguably the most critical time for doctors and nurses to monitor a patient after an operation. PACU errors such as miscommunication between nurses or failure to monitor patients could be disastrous. If something recently went wrong for you or a loved one in a PACU in Florida, contact Freedland Harwin Valori, PL. You could be the victim of medical malpractice, giving you the right to pursue damages from the accountable physician, nurse, hospital, or surgery center. Request a free consultation with one of our attorneys to learn more.

Duties of Staff Members in a PACU

PACUs are often quiet areas in hospitals. Patients are often unconscious, coming out of anesthesia, lethargic, or unable to function. The quiet nature of the PACU, however, does not necessarily translate into patient well-being. PACU staff members must be on their guard at all times for possible signs of issues or complications. Staff must be vigilant to notice underlying problems without the patient voicing his or her concerns – usually through the use of electronic monitoring and alarm systems. Duties PACU staff must perform to ensure patient safety include:

  • Monitoring patients at all times
  • Keeping alarms on despite alarm fatigue
  • Paying strict attention to patients
  • Preventing obstructed views of the patient
  • Communicating with patients and their family members
  • Communicating with a larger team of doctors and professionals
  • Working efficiently to ensure patient success

Complications in the PACU after surgery are relatively common. Anesthesia complications such as nausea, vomiting, muscle soreness, and sore throat are frequent and typically non-life-threatening. Less commonly, serious complications such as adverse drug reactions, stroke, heart attack, problems breathing, swelling, or bleeding occur. PACU staff should be able to detect and address any complications in a way that minimizes risk to the patient.

What to Do After a PACU Error Injures You

It is up to those working in the PACU to keep alarms turned on, to monitor patients at all times, and to administer life-saving treatments as necessary. It is the PACU facility’s duty to keep an adequate nurse-patient ratio, to train staff correctly, and to maintain protocols that will reduce the chance of PACU errors. Any PACU errors arising out of negligence could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida.

Failing to monitor the patient after surgery can be a fatal mistake. If the patient worsens without PACU staff member noticing or reacting, the post-anesthesia patient could bleed out, suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen, slip into a coma, or die. Distracted, careless, or negligent staff members are hazards in post-operative care units and liabilities to the hospital.

Inaudible alarms, alarm fatigue, obstructed view of the patient, poor training, not enough staff members, and lack of clarity around what an employee should do can all result in preventable PACU errors. If a PACU mistake has caused your injury or led to the wrongful death of a family member, consult with an attorney about your legal rights. You could be eligible for financial compensation. At Freedland Harwin Valori, PL we know most injured patients don’t file claims solely for the money. Let us help you secure justice. Call (954) 467-6400 for a free evaluation today.

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