Anesthesiology Expert Advises on Administration of Incorrect Drug During Surgery

Kristin Casler

Written by
— Updated on December 19, 2017

Anesthesiology expert - syringeAn anesthesiology expert advises on a case involving a woman who was placed under anesthesia for her septoplasty surgery. She had suffered for years with chronic nasal congestion. During the operation, her surgeon injected what he thought was 1% Lidocaine Epi10cc for hemostasis. Immediately following the injection, which was in fact Epinephrine, the plaintiff’s blood pressure rose to a minimum of 165/115 with a heart rate was 105. The anesthesiologist responded with an injection of an unknown quantity of Labetalol to decrease her blood pressure. Her pressure dropped as low as 62/40 with a heart rate of 72. Following three doses of Ephedrine, her blood pressure remained low until the surgery concluded.

Following surgery, the plaintiff was screaming, moaning and not following commands. She could not recall simple facts. She was diagnosed with mental status changes, transient hypoxemia and non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. She spent four days in the hospital for what should have been a one-day stay.

The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging she suffered permanent injuries from the improper administration of drugs during surgery.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Was the standard of care violated?
  • 2. What actions constituted deviations from the standards?

Expert Witness Response

It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the anesthesiologist departed from the standard of care in his management of the plaintiff’s intra-operative hypertension caused by the surgeon’s administration of the Epinephrine injection (1:3000). Specifically, it is my opinion that the anesthesiologist departed from the standard of care by his improper attempt to manage her intra-operative blood pressure using a combination of Labetelol, Sevoflourane and Ephedrine.

The anesthesiologist also departed from the standard of care in the management of the plaintiff’s persistent post-operative hypotension during which she remained under the effects of Labetelol and her stunned myocardium.

The surgical center and anesthesiology group defendants departed from the administrative standard of care by failing to have policies and procedures reflecting the handling of drugs by nurses and staff to minimize medication administration errors. The above deviations from the standard of care caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.

The expert is a physician who has actively practiced in these areas of specialty for three of the last five years and has performed anesthesia services in cases similar to this one.

Contact this expert witness

Find an Anesthesiology Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY