Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety: Michael Jackson’s Doctor and Other Recent Lawsuits: How Medical Practice Standards Affect Legal Liability
CHICAGO, Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a recent legal analysis, “Breathing Easier with Capnography – A New Standard of Care?”, lawsuits including that involving Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, are discussed where changing medical practices may affect a healthcare professional’s legal liability.
Peter A. Corsale (litigation lawyer at Gallop, Johnson & Neuman, L.C., St. Louis, Missouri) writes:
“The case of Richard Tseng v. Mazzacco Ambulatory Surgery Center, Case No. LC084435, Los Angeles Superior Court, provides an illustrative example of the ‘sedation gone wrong’ cases that the ASA [American Society of Anesthesiologists] is attempting to prevent. Mr. Tseng was given midazolam, fentanyl and propofol for sedation during eye surgery for a prosthetic lens implant, a procedure that was to take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Mr. Tseng went into a deeper state of sedation than expected, stopped breathing, and suffered an anoxic brain injury. He is now in a nursing home. His attorneys alleged that Mr. Tseng’s injuries would have been prevented if his end tidal CO2 had been monitored. They claimed the monitoring would have detected Mr. Tseng’s respiratory arrest and permitted earlier resuscitation. The Mazzacco Ambulatory Surgery Center countered that the anesthesia care met the applicable standard of care. Finding for Mr. Tseng, the jury awarded $2.25 million in damages.
“Unfortunately, preventable ‘sedation gone wrong’ cases continue to exist. The death of Michael Jackson and the criminal prosecution of his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray is Exhibit A of this problem. One of the seventeen acts of medical malpractice alleged by the prosecution in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Murray is that Dr. Murray failed to adequately monitor Michael Jackson with capnography (amongst other monitoring equipment) during the administration of propofol. A recent survey conducted among healthcare providers revealed that more than a third of them believe that medical practices are not in complete accord with the Standards for Basic Anesthetic Monitoring set by the ASA.”
An example of how technology and changing medical practices may affect legal liability is capnography. As Mr. Corsale points out:
“Capnography, which has existed in one form or another since the early 1980′s, provides an illustration of how advances in technology can affect the standard of care, at least in the juror’s eyes. A capnograph monitors end-tidal carbon dioxide (CO2) – the byproduct of metabolic process in which oxygen is inhaled, used, and transformed into carbon dioxide … One area where capnography is impacting the standard of care is in non-operative settings where procedural/conscious sedations are used. An increasing number of organizations whose practice guidelines may constitute legal standards of care recommend capnography in these settings. For example, based on a review of ‘sedation cases gone wrong,’ the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) proposed a new minimum requirement, adopted July 1, 2011, that required the monitoring of exhaled CO2 during moderate and deep sedation.”
“Fifteen years ago ambulances did not use capnography,” writes Mr. Corsale. “Now, medical professionals predict that, within the next five years, capnography will become the “staple technology” of an emergency responder’s standard of care. If true, the legal ramifications are apparent.”
For this complete article by attorney Corsale, please see: http://wp.me/p1JikT-90
About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS is composed of physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations. For more information, please see http://ppahs.wordpress.com/
SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety