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Anesthesiologist Misses Reading the Surgical Testing Notes

Anesthesiologist Misses Reading the Surgical Testing Notes

A patient goes in for an elective surgical procedure. Before the surgery, the patient is in the waiting area, and the anesthesiologist comes in to talk to him. This anesthesiologist does not understand that there are two different sets of medical records. He never bothers to read the pre-surgical testing notes that were done a week earlier, which every patient has to obtain for pre-surgical testing. Instead, this doctor thought there was only one set of notes.

The hospital, on the other hand, not only uses computerized notes but also handwritten notes. Because of all this, the anesthesiologist never saw that the patient had declared that he was allergic to lidocaine. Unfortunately, lidocaine was one of the drugs the doctor used for anesthetizing the patient.

Wrong Anesthesia Causes a Horrendous Cardiac Event

The moment, the anesthesiologist administered this medication; the patient went into cardiac arrest. The hospital staff had to call a code and had to resuscitate this patient for ten minutes. Finally, they were able to get him back, they had to cancel the surgery, and put the patient into recovery. The patient remained in the cardiac care unit for next few days until he had fully recovered.

It turns out, this patient had an allergy to lidocaine, and if the anesthesiologist had known this, he would never have given the patient this local regional anesthetic. Instead, the doctor would have simply put the patient to sleep under general anesthesia, and the patient would never have had this terrible heart reaction.

Medication was also Administered Wrongly

It was later found out that the anesthesiologist not only gave the patient the wrong anesthetic but also injected it in the wrong place. Instead of the medication going into the muscle, the anesthetic went directly into the blood stream. This caused a toxic reaction that triggered the cardiac event. Hence, a series of events occurred all because this doctor failed to recognize that this patient was allergic to this particular medication. Had the doctor known this, none of this would have happened and the surgery would have gone on fine.

Liability and Causation are Evident

The patient, whose life was under threat because of the wrong medication being administered, can easily file a medical malpractice case against the anesthesiologist or the hospital and claim compensation. The doctor not only gave the wrong medication, but also administered it wrongly. Lidocaine being a local anesthetic has to be injected in the muscle, but instead it was injected into the blood stream which immediately affected the heart.

Lack of communication is one thing and the hospital could be at fault here but the fact that the lidocaine was injected in the wrong part of the body or that the anesthesiologist missed the muscle is clearly the anesthesiologist’s fault.

The carelessness of the anesthesiologist is quite clear because he is supposed to know that there are two sets of records, and he should have reviewed them both. Secondly, there was clear violation of basic standard of medical care, since the lidocaine was wrongly administered. As for causation, the patient would not have had a cardiac event if the right anesthetic were administered correctly. Therefore, the wrong medication was the direct cause of the cardiac arrest.