Anesthesiology Error Leaves Colonoscopy Patient On Ventilator

    Colonoscopy Expert

    This case involves a 55-year-old woman who underwent a colonoscopy secondary to the discovery of polyps. The patient was put under general anesthesia for the procedure. Following the procedure, the patient aspirated and developed respiratory distress syndrome. As a result, she was left on a permanent ventilator. An experienced post-GI anesthesia recovery nurse was sought to review the facts and discuss whether the CRNA deviated from the standard of care.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Are you currently working as a post GI anesthesia recovery nurse?
    • 2. How would you determine whether or not the standard of care was followed in this case?

    Expert Witness Response E-057152

    I work in all areas of gastroenterology as a post-GI anesthesia recovery nurse. My initial thought is to question why a 55-year-old woman needed gastrointestinal anesthesia for a colonoscopy. What were her co-morbidities? Did she aspirate post-extubation, during intubation or at another time? Did she have food in her stomach initially when the procedure started? What was documented about this problem and at what time? Was the unit solely a GI post-anesthesia recovery area of the general post-anesthesia recovery area? When was it first observed that there was a problem and what measures were taken? Who performed the anesthesia administration, the MD or the nurse anesthetist?

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