Not Your Typical Face-Lift
Recently, a Florida patient went into surgery looking for a typical face-lift. What they got was severe brain damage, a heart attack, and kidney failure. The surgical complications – as avoidable as they were devastating – were caused by the anesthesiologist’s medical negligence.
Dr. Roger Gorman, an anesthesiologist operating at the Delray and West Boca Medical Centers, was responsible for the patient’s anesthesia care. However, when the patient’s blood pressure began dropping during surgery – causing hypotension, a development any good doctor would have anticipated and addressed – Gorman allegedly neglected to use the recommended methods for restoring the blood pressure to normal levels.
In the patient’s complaint for medical negligence, the patient also alleges that Gorman failed to properly record the patient’s fluids and carbon dioxide levels. The anesthesiologist’s medical malpractice resulted in the patient’s severe brain injury, heart attack, lactic acid buildup, and kidney failure.
Keeping Patients In The Dark
To make matters worse, this facelift case isn’t the first time Gorman’s medical negligence allegedly caused disastrous patient outcomes. According to a previous complaint, Gorman caused the death of a mother during childbirth by failing to monitor the effects of the sedatives he gave her and failing to properly respond to her heart attack. For these lethal mistakes, Gorman paid a measly $10,000 fine and completed 16 hours of medical education courses. Clearly, 16 hours wasn’t enough for him to learn from his mistakes.
If the unfortunate face-lift patient had known about the prior allegations against Dr. Gorman, they might have avoided his care and the tragic outcome entirely. But between poor hospital communication, state laws hamstringing medical boards, and the legal system’s insistence on treating doctors differently than others whose carelessness causes injury, patients are often kept in the dark about their physicians’ histories of misconduct.
Why Are There So Many Anesthesia Mistakes?
There are many different ways that mistakes in anesthesia care can cause harmful patient effects. For example, an anesthesiologist might overlook part of a patient’s allergies or medical history and prescribe them the wrong medication. They might also administer too high a dose of an anesthetic, sedating the patient more than necessary for the surgery, which can result in respiratory arrest.
Whatever the cause, an anesthesiologist’s mistakes usually cause either hypotension, requiring medications to raise the blood pressure, or a lack of oxygen, requiring oxygen to be provided from a machine. If the person giving the anesthesia (either an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist) fails to respond properly and in time, the patient can go into cardiac arrest and suffer even greater consequences, as in the case of Dr. Gorman’s patients.
Avoiding Disastrous Surgeries
There is no way to completely prevent bad outcomes during surgery. However, there are a number of ways patients can reduce the risks of medical malpractice and get the best care for themselves.
- Research your doctor beforehand using whatever information you can find, whether from your local medical board, patient reviews online, or simply word of mouth. Also check online to see whether the doctor is board certified in their specialty.
- Try to have your surgery at a hospital with the resources and expertise to react quickly to any complications.
- Ask questions about anything you don’t understand about your surgery. Make sure your physician explains all the components of your care, all the legal forms (for example, the Consent for Procedure and Consent for Anesthesia), and all the steps of the surgery.
- Research your diagnosis beforehand to make sure surgery is essential – it never hurts to get a second opinion.
- Make sure that every member of your care team knows all your allergies and medical history. If you think there may be an issue with the medication or anesthesia they’re trying to give you, speak up.
Advocating for Victims of Bad Anesthesia Care
Mistakes during surgery, especially in anesthesia, make up a significant portion of medical malpractice claims. If you are concerned about the care you received from your surgical team or the medications you were given, please contact our expert Ohio medical malpractice lawyers to discuss your situation. The Eisen Law Firm has over four decades of experience exposing negligence during surgery, and our team will strive to get you the maximum compensation possible for the harm caused. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (216) 687-0900 or by contacting us online.