Is it medical malpractice if a doctor delays intubation on a patient to wait for an anesthesiologist to come out of surgery?

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Is it medical malpractice if a doctor delays intubation on a patient to wait for an anesthesiologist to come out of surgery?

I had been at a very low oxygen level (under 70) for several hours, struggling to breathe, panicking and begging to be put on a ventilator to help me breathe. Eventually, the doctor came in and told me that I would be placed on a ventilator, BUT that I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to get out of surgery, and he had just started. I had to wait almost 4 hours after that to be placed on a ventilator,at which time I was deemed in critical condition and had to be life-flighted to another hospital. I know for a fact that my oxygen was under 70 for at least 24 hours and possibly up to 30 before intubation.

Asked on July 30, 2013 under Malpractice Law, Montana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Your four hour delay in being placed on a ventilator to wait for the anesthesiologist would appear to be negligence.  It would be advisable to discuss this with another doctor who could review your medical records and write a report supporting your medical malpractice claim.

Prior to filing a lawsuit against the first doctor, it may be possible to settle the case with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your malpractice claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include your medical bills, medical reports and if applicable, documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor.

If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights in the matter forever.


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