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$500,000 awarded for medical malpractice in colonoscopy case

If you've had to undergo surgery in the past and received general anesthetics, you trusted that your doctors were being kind, professional and gentle with you. When you're under general anesthetic, you're at your most vulnerable point. You can't object to procedures or mention unusual pain; you can't ask the team to stop working or to stop being crass.

Even if you're not injured physically during a medical procedure, malpractice can take the form of a mental injury. That's what this case involved in Virginia. According to a June 24 report, a man played back a recording he made during his colonoscopy and discovered malpractice and abuse.

He reported that when he played back the recording, he heard the surgical team mocking him and insulting him. The anesthesiologist was recorded telling the unconscious man that she wanted to punch him after speaking to him, and then she joked that a rash on the man's penis could be "penis Ebola" or tuberculosis in the penis.

The anesthesiologist went on to insult the man, calling him a retard for looking at needles despite his fear of them. The doctors even discussed pretending not to be available after the man woke up, so they wouldn't need to converse with him at all following the operation. The anesthesiologist reportedly said she was going to write down that the man had hemorrhoids even though he didn't.

The man sued the doctors and their practices for defamation and medical malpractice. A jury awarded him $500,000, specifically citing the false diagnosis and defamation as the main reasons for the ruling.

Source: The Washington Post, "Anesthesiologist trashes sedated patient — and it ends up costing her," Tom Jackman, June 23, 2015

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