If I had oral surgery and the anesthesia didn’t work but the doctorr wouldn’t stop the procedure even though I begged him to, what can I do legally?

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If I had oral surgery and the anesthesia didn’t work but the doctorr wouldn’t stop the procedure even though I begged him to, what can I do legally?

Today I had oral surgery to have 2 wisdom teeth removed and 1that was impacted under 1 of the wisdom teeth. I am deathly afraid of needles and medical procedures so I opted to pay the extra nearly $400 for complete sedation. I was never sedated and never totally numbed and the doctor proceeded to crack and jerk my teeth out of my mouth. I was screaming in pain and begging for them to stop and they just continued. The doctor actually yelled at me once and the nurse told me that I was scaring the other patients. I am livid. They kept telling me that I’ll forget the whole thing. Where do I stand legally?

Asked on April 6, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While you may wish to speak with a medical malpractice attorney to see if he or she feels you have any legal recourse, there is a good chance you  effectively do not:

1) It may not have been malpractice. Malpractice is when the doctor or other medical care provider does something wrong--for  example, is carelesss or negligent, or otherwise fails to provide care that meets current accepted medical standards. If the doctor did everything right but the outcome was bad, that is not malpractice. If the sedation waas administered correctly but did not take, and if by the time it was clear that you were not adequately sedated or numbed, it was too late to stop--the procedure had to be finished--that would not be malpractice.

This is not to say that it *wasn't* malpractice--just to note that it is not a given that it was, so you cannot assume you would automatically be able to show malpractice.

2) More significantly, it is difficult to recover for an incident of pain if there is no lasting disability or physical damage; the legal system does not provide much compensation for short-term pain. At the same time, malpractice suits are among the most expensive to pursue, since  you need medical expert testimony, and medical experts charge a premium. Therefore, even if this was malpractice, a lawsuit could easily cost you more than you could recover.


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