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Man ridiculed by anesthesiologist during procedure wins lawsuit

Patients in New York and across the nation place their trust in an anesthesiologist when they are undergoing a medical procedure. Part of that trust implies that they will be treated with dignity and respect. One patient who was receiving a colonoscopy was not accorded that professionalism as the anesthesiologist was recorded on the man's cellphone having ridiculed him during the procedure.

The man inadvertently made the recording by leaving his phone on when he had his colonoscopy in April of 2013. When he was on his way home, he listened to it and found that the doctors were ridiculing him the entire time. The anesthesiologist made statements about the patient having tuberculosis in his penis and warned another medical worker that touching a genital rash the man had might result in a sexually transmitted disease.

In addition, the anesthesiologist referred to the man as a 'retard" and a 'wimp." She made jokes about shooting a gun in his rectum, denigrated the college he attended, and made threats to write in his chart that he suffered from hemorrhoids. She did record that he had hemorrhoids. Once he heard the recording, the man moved forward with a medical negligence lawsuit. In the case, the jury awarded the man $500,000, including amounts for defamation and punitive damages.

While most people might be under the impression that a lawsuit for medical errors must be linked to worsened conditions, failure to treat infections and other issues, the behaviors exhibited by the anesthesiologist and staff also may allow a patient to file a case. Those who believe they might have been mistreated in a similar way as this patient should discuss their case with an attorney who has experience in this type of litigation.

Source: USA Today, 'Anesthesiologist mocked sedated patient, pays big," Kate Seamons, June 25, 2015

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