Is it medical negligence to put a person to sleep for surgery with anesthesia and then realize you don’t have blood that you will definitely need?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it medical negligence to put a person to sleep for surgery with anesthesia and then realize you don’t have blood that you will definitely need?

My husband is an ESRD patient who had open heart surgery to replace 2 valves last year; 1 has already gone bad and he was scheduled for surgery. They prepped him got him to the OR. They intubated and sedated him before realizing they didn’t have blood products. So they had to cancel the surgery. They had a hard time waking him and getting the tube out per the charge nurse. New Link Destination
day they took him down for surgery did pre-op only to discover his potassium was too high and he should have had dialysis first. They have had to give him blood in order for him to have surgery which hurts his chances of getting a kidney transplant. I need to know what to do.

Asked on January 9, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It was malpractice, since it was unreasonably careless, but there is no point in taking legal action if your husband, as we hope is ok and you do not incur at least several thousand, if not tens of thousands, of dollars of additional out-of-pocket medical costs. Malpractice lawsuits are not designed to punish the medical care provider; rather, their purpose is to compensate the injured person for medical bills, lost wages and, for any resulting significant life impairment lasting months or longer caused by the malpractice, some amount for "pain and suffering." If your husbnd is ok now and does not suffer serious lasting effects, and you did not incure large additional out-of-pocket medical bills, you would not recover enough money in a lawsuit to justify--or possibly even cover--the high cost of a medical malpractice lawsuit (to bring such a suit, you must hire a medical expert witness, and such persons do not work cheap).

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