Bringing Anesthesiology and Law Together, Conceptually and Factually

Sample Case Descriptions

Medical Board/Peer Review
  • A 73 year old patient received IV sedation from an oral surgeon as part of the anesthetic plan for a tooth extraction in a dental office. The patient developed respiratory and cardiac arrest and ultimately expired. The issue was whether the practitioner had adequately responded in treating the emergency.
  • A 63 year old patient starting to receive IV sedation for an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) developed laryngospasm as the endoscope was inserted by the physician performing the procedure. The issue was whether the endoscopy practitioner should be subject to corrective action by the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee for failing to immediately remove the endoscope at the request of the anesthesiologist so that the anesthesia provider could fully treat the laryngospasm.
Professional Disability
  • A 63 year old anesthesiologist claimed complete medical disability as a result of psychological illness. The issue was whether the claimant would be able to perform the substantial and material duties of an anesthesiologist given her psychological condition.
Medical Malpractice
  • At the conclusion of a mastectomy during emergence from anesthesia, a patient developed airway obstruction after extubation and went into cardiac arrest, ultimately suffering a hypoxic brain injury. The issue was whether the nurse anesthetist verified the correct placement of the endotracheal tube after an attempted reintubation.
  • A patient received epidural and IV opioids for pain control while hospitalized after bilateral knee replacement surgery. The patient suffered a respiratory and cardiac arrest, and ultimately expired. The issue was whether there was a breach of the standard of care by the anesthesiologist for overdosing the narcotics and for failure to adequately monitor the patient’s oxygenation and ventilation status.
  • Patient developed meningitis after placement of an epidural. The issue was whether the anesthesiologist breached the standard of care for sterile technique during the epidural procedure.