Patient Dies After Receiving General Anesthesia

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on September 28, 2017

Anesthesiology Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Pennsylvania and involves a male patient who was a candidate for an elective cosmetic procedure. The patient underwent a preoperative workup, which revealed some troubling findings with his heart. In spite of these findings, his providers planned to have him undergo the surgery and then undergo cardiac evaluation following the procedure. The patient presented for the procedure as planned and was monitored for the duration. The patient received general anesthesia. No vital signs were documented after the procedure. Some time after the procedure, the patient was found unresponsive in the recovery room. The patient appeared to have suffered a massive heart attack, and doctors were unable to resuscitate him.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you treat patients with similar presentation? If so, how often?
  • 2. What is the standard of care for these kinds of patients? How should these patients be monitored postoperatively?

Expert Witness Response E-008119

I have been involved in similar situations as a caregiver, as a reviewer on our hospital’s code committee, and as an expert. There are many reasons for this arrest and the primary reason in all of these cases is inappropriate monitoring leading to a respiratory event.

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