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Widow accuses anesthesiologist of negligence in husband’s death

Any surgical procedure, no matter how supposedly routine or minor, carries with it certain risks. This is particularly the case in procedures that require a patient to be put under. Anesthesiologists are among some of the most specialized of all medical professionals. When an anesthesiologist makes a mistake or error in judgement, such medical mistakes can result in a patient suffering permanent injuries, brain damage and even death.

A trail recently began related to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the widow of a 66-year-old successful architect and father of three. According to the lawsuit, the man died after suffering complications which resulted from critical errors made by one anesthesiologist.

During 2010, the man was admitted to the hospital for a routine kidney stone removal surgery. Although the procedure was considered low risk it required the man to be rendered unconscious and therefore under the care and supervision of an anesthesiologist.

Upon intubating the man, however, the doctor encountered difficulty due to an apparent obstruction in the man's airway. While such airway obstructions are not uncommon, doctors are advised to take extra precautions when the breathing tube of such a patient is removed.

According to the lawsuit, the anesthesiologist failed to take necessary and customary precautionary measures to ensure the patient's airway did not collapse upon removing the breathing tube. As a result, the man's airway collapsed and he was subsequently without oxygen for an extended period of time.

While doctors were eventually able to revive the man, a full 90 minutes had elapsed. The 66-year-old suffered severe brain damage and the decision was made by his family to end life support.

Source: The Spokesman-Review, "Trial begins in wrongful death suit," Jennifer Pignolet, June 11, 2013

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