Undergoing anesthesia in California is much safer than it used to be, in many cases. Both medicine and medical practice have advanced to the point where patient deaths are remarkably uncommon for such an extreme level of sedation. In fact, many medical procedures would likely be impossible without modern anesthesiology.

These scientific advances have nothing to do, unfortunately, with the ethics of medical practitioners. One incompetent, malicious or negligent act by an anesthesiologist could still spell disaster for a patient.

The possibility of unethical behavior does not mean that those facing surgery should necessarily forgo procedures that involve general anesthesia. It simply means that special attention is necessary to confirm the credentials of the specialist and nurse attendant administering the services. As mentioned on the Cleaveland Clinic’s website, it is also important that the anesthesiologist be aware of any patient’s history of drug and alcohol use.

There are many other issues that could increase risks. The Mayo Clinic has a long list of things that could cause complications during anesthesia, including the following:

  • Secondary organ issues
  • Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Use of blood thinners
  • History of seizures

The Mayo Clinic also mentions another condition that is troubling, albeit certainly less serious than the death of a patient due to negligence. Anesthesia awareness, according to the site, could affect a small number of patients. This typically involves awareness — not necessarily pain — during the surgical procedure. Possible causes for this include improper monitoring of the patient and mistakes made by the technicians or physicians in charge of the drugs.