Cell phones can hold doctors accountable, as do videos of police encounters. A Virginia patient successfully sued his anesthesiologist for defamation and medical malpractice based on a recording of the doctor’s bantering while the patient lay unconscious during a colonoscopy. The insulting, and some say bullying behavior, cost the doctor $500,000 — $100,000 for defamation, $200,000 for medical malpractice and $200,000 in punitive damages.
The patient used his cell phone to record his aftercare colonoscopy instructions and never managed to stop the recording before losing consciousness under anesthesia. Once the patient was sedated, the anesthesiologist began her ranting to colleagues with comments like:
- “After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.”
- Intentionally misdiagnosing a rash, attributing it to a sexually transmitted disease
- Making slurs about the patient’s sexual orientation
- Discussing methods to avoid the patient after the colonoscopy
- Instructing an assistant to lie to the patient
- Documenting hemorrhoids on the patient’s chart even when none existed
The Fairfax County VA jury ordered the physician and her practice pay the patient $500,000 of the $1.75 million sought. In this case, the anesthesiologist’s negligence resulted in a patient’s anxiety and sleeplessness. According to the juror, Farid Khairzada, “there was not much defense, because everything was on tape … We finally came to a conclusion that we have to give him something, just to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
If you or a family member feels they have suffered from negligence at the hands of a doctor, be sure to consult a seasoned malpractice attorney. When contacting us, we will conduct a thorough review of the case details. To determine if the case is actionable, we review the pertinent medical records, interview the patient, family members and friends.
If you have questions regarding a recent medical malpractice issue and are considering your options, contact us either online or by phone at 908-928-9200.