Use of injectable fentanyl to prevent pain in knee surgery alleged to have been medically negligent.

On Nov. 4, 2019, the West Virginia Record reported that a patient filed a lawsuit in state court against an anesthesiologist and the doctor's professional practice alleging medical negligence. The plaintiff alleged that the anesthesiologist negligently gave him unnecessary fentanyl injections to control pain before knee replacement surgery in 2017.

West Virginia medical negligence

The lawsuit alleges that the use of a large dose of fentanyl (100 mcg) in this way violated the applicable medical standard of care in that this drug is not a proper preoperative medication and that it "does not make sense from a medical standpoint, and is suspect ... without any discernible reason for getting it."

The complaint states that a large fentanyl dose like this can bring known side effects of "respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, and cardiac depression." The plaintiff says that the fentanyl injection caused him to lose consciousness and the ability to breath, and that his heart stopped. Doctors had to resuscitate him.

The patient seeks money damages for "past, present and future insult, injury, pain and suffering and compensation for medical expenses."

Wisconsin example of anesthesiologist malpractice

Similarly, the Wisconsin State Journal reported in April 2019 that a hospital affiliated with the state university had settled a malpractice case for $22.5 million in which a baby's brain was permanently damaged because of oxygen deprivation from complications from anesthesia administered by a resident in anesthesia during surgery to correct a birth defect. The doctor allegedly "failed to react appropriately to prolonged low blood pressure readings."

Most of the settlement award will provide for the child's long-term care, but the parents received almost $1.9 million as well as legal fees of $4.5 million.

When a medical specialist like an anesthesiologist performs medical services, they must adhere to the standard of care of others within the specialty. Breaching or failing to meet those standards may injure the patient, which results in medical malpractice or medical negligence for which the victim may bring a lawsuit for damages.

Anyone who experiences injury because of medical negligence or whose loved one has passed away from medical malpractice should seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer. Time is of the essence as there may be deadlines to meet, which can vary by jurisdiction.

The lawyers at Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law, in Vinton, Virginia, represent victims of medical negligence in the Roanoke area and throughout Virginia as well as in West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and surrounding states.