Is it okay for the anesthesiologist to be on the phone doing personal business during my surgery?

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Is it okay for the anesthesiologist to be on the phone doing personal business during my surgery?

Feb. 21, 2018. Fountain Valley Surgery Center. Foot surgery. I knew I would be
under light anesthesia and would be in and out.The second time and last time I
remember waking during the surgery I was in serious pain in my right leg. I
wanted to say something but there was a breathing tube in my mouth and I could
not speak. may limbs were secured so I could not move. I tried groaning but no
luck. I could hear the Anesthesiologist talking to his bank about money he
owed. I listen to his phone ring multiple times during the remainder of the
surgery. I could not get his attention about the pain. I called to put in a
complaint a couple of days later and I spoke to the Nursing director. She said
they were sorry and she wanted to know how we could nip the situation in the
bud. The Anesthesiologist called me that night and admitted to it and
apologized. I also got a letter from the Administrator saying I would get
better service next time. I wanted a discount or no payment on the
Anesthesiologist since I got poor service and not what I signed up for. I feel
cheated and all I got was an I’m sorry. A phone in the surgery room is that
okay. Is it sanitary and wasn’t I supposed to be in a sterile environment.
Help.

Asked on May 23, 2018 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The first issue is whether malpractice was committed or not: malpractice is the provision of medical care which does not meet currently accepted standards for such care. It doesn't matter if the care was not 1st rate or as good as it could have been--it must actually be deficient to create a legal claim. To prove it was malpractice, you would need the opinion of another doctor or doctors with relevant experience and training (e.g. other anesthesiologists) who can examine the records and offer a trained, expert opinion as to whether the care was deficient or not.
The second issue is what injuries or harm did you suffer? The law does NOT provide compensation for "feeling cheated" or for what *might* have happened--it only provides compensation for injuries you actually suffered or additional costs you actually incurred. If you came ouf the experience fine but for feeling additional, potentially unnecessary pain during a surgery, there is very little, if any, compensation which a court would give you.
Third, a malpractice lawsuit--and you would have to sue, if they do not voluntarily offer you what you want--can be very expensive: even if you were to bring the suit "pro se" (as your own attorney--which is NOT recommended), you still have to hire the medical expert witness(es) we discussed above, and such do not work cheap: in my area (NY/NJ), you'll pay $1,500 - $3,000 for a doctor to review your case, write a report, and testify, even on a simple matter. You could easily spend far more than you would ever get back on the case.
Based on what you write, it is unlikely that you have a worthwhile legal claim or case.


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