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Anesthesia Errors Lead to Permanent Brain Damage

It only takes a short hospital stay or surgery for a patient’s medical records to turn into volumes of documents and electronic reports. These medical records are extremely important to patient care because they provide a snapshot into how the doctors, nurses, and hospitals treated the patient. When there are problems with the medical record, such as missing information or suspicious corrections, it may indicate someone is trying to cover something up. 

Anesthesiologist and Permanent Vegetative State

According to the Florida Health Department, Dr. Thomas J. Rodenberg kept inadequate and inaccurate medical records when questioned about a surgical procedure that went wrong, leaving the patient in a permanent vegetative state. The 36-year-old patient had gone into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia for manipulation. 

The patient’s oxygen levels had dropped to 87% but the treatment continued after the doctor claimed the O2 saturation levels were back up to 92%, which was not put into the medical record. The patient then developed an abnormal heart rate and his heart rate dropped to 33 beats per minute with no registered blood pressure. The heart rate monitor alarm went off but the doctor kept silencing the alarm without addressing the problem. 

A nurse finally spoke up to tell the doctor the patient was “coding,” or going into cardiac arrest. The doctor told the nurse that wasn’t her job. The doctor refused to call 9-1-1, telling everyone the patient was fine. It took the owner of the surgical facility to come into the room and call for emergency medical care. 

The nurse began chest compressions and another nurse noted there was no “crash” cart available and oxygen was not being provided. When the other nurse went to get the oxygen machine, the doctor slapped her hand away and told her to stay away from “his” machine. Even after emergency medical services arrived, the doctor said they were not needed. An EKG showed the patient had no pulse

A disciplinary case found the doctor’s care fell below the standard of care by: 

  • Failure to adequately administer oxygen
  • Failure to document the actual oxygen administered
  • Turning off heart rate machine alarms
  • Failure to adequately monitor the patient
  • Failure to recognize and respond to the patient’s condition after cardiac arrest
  • Improper diagnosis, incomplete history, and inadequate evaluation
  • Interfering with nurses and EMS team

This tragedy occurred after at least two other patients died while under the anesthesiologist’s care during medical procedures. Despite the allegations against the anesthesiologist doctor, the doctor continued to provide care to patients for years before his license was voluntarily surrendered. The complaints also came against the doctor while he was under criminal investigation for illegally selling painkillers to undercover agents. 

Anesthesia and Malpractice Accidents

Anesthesia is a useful tool for surgical procedures to protect patients and provide a stable operating environment for doctors. However, when the anesthesiologist makes mistakes or fails to properly care for the patient, the results can be deadly. Problems during anesthesia can include the wrong mix or dosage of drugs, failure to monitor the patient, or improper intubation

If you were harmed because of negligent care under anesthesia, speak with a medical malpractice attorney for help. Fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today to talk to our team. 


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