What can cause a routine medical procedure to end in injury?

A recent article profiled one woman’s unfortunate brush with alleged medical negligence. The woman’s troubles started in a pre-surgical step to her anticipated surgery. As a safety precaution against any stomach conditions that might complicate the surgery, the woman’s doctor had recommended an endoscopy that would take pictures of her digestive tract.

The endoscopy should have been routine, involving only general anesthesia and taking between 20 to 30 minutes. The woman’s anesthesiologist had performed an intake of her medical history, taking notes about her codeine allergy and previous conditions of acid reflux and hypertension. The anesthesiologist also noted that the patient’s recent EKG had revealed a heart condition.

For reasons that remain unclear, the anesthesiologist administered the general anesthetic at the start of the endoscopy but then left the room. Unfortunately, the nurse who remained behind was not able to handle the complications that arose when the woman stopped breathing. Although the anesthesiologist returned after the nurse sounded the alarm, the woman had been without oxygen for several minutes. Tragically, the woman never woke up.

Since many surgeries involve a team of medical professionals, the interaction between each team member must be consistent. A doctor’s duty of care to a patient preparing for a surgical procedure must include proper communication and monitoring. Any break in the chain of communication might result in negligent care and resulting serious patient injuries.

If you have suffered an injury by any member on your medical care team, an attorney can help investigate where the breakdown occurred and determine whether a medical malpractice claim may be available.