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Distracted Doctoring Case Filed in Dallas Against Anesthesiologist

on 02/10/2014

A medical malpractice suit has been filed against Medical City and two individual doctors involved in a 2011 surgical procedure that ended with a patient dying. The procedure is a relatively routine heart surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. The lawsuit alleges the anesthesiologist filed to notice the patient’s dangerously low blood-oxygen levels until “15 or 20 minutes” after the patient began to turn blue.

A cause of action in the lawsuit named “distracted doctoring” on the part of the anesthesiologist as a factor in the death of the 61-year-old patient. In a deposition of the surgeon named in the case, the victim’s family’s attorney pushed the doctor for details on the activity of the anesthesiologist during the operation.  The surgeon revealed the anesthesiologist was working on an iPad or cellphone during the operation but was unsure of what he was doing on the equipment. The surgeon did testify it is fairly routine for anesthesiologists to check their phones during procedures due to the amount of down time during an operation.

The surgeon also admitted during the deposition that he believes the blood-oxygen saturation numbers written in the chart were fabricated. Until the patient turned blue, the numbers provided by the anesthesiologist showed the blood-oxygen levels were normal.

The anesthesiologist was also deposed and provided damning testimony of his activity during this surgery and others. He defended his device use but said there were no Facebook posts due to the inappropriateness of the action. The attorney then produced Facebook posts from the doctor’s personal page in which he publicly spoke about a patient having lice and another image of a patient’s monitor during surgery.

This case could have groundbreaking implications for doctor’s in Texas and the use of personal electronic equipment and social media. This is another example of technology distracting individuals and having fatal results as in texting while driving.

If you have been injured by a distracted individual, please call the attorneys at Watts Guerra.

Tags: Personal Injury, Distracted Driving

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