His doctor told him he had an inguinal hernia.

It wasn't life-threatening.

As a general surgeon, he could easily fix it.

"It's routine," the surgeon said.

"I've done thousands of them."

"You'll be in and out the same day."

Except it wasn't.

The young man trusted his doctor.

He liked him.

He had no reason to disagree with him.

Although the inguinal hernia was not life-threatening, he felt he might as well fix the problem.

It sounded simple enough.

The doctor certainly had plenty of experience.

There didn't see to be any risk with the surgery.

He knew he was in good hands.

He was in good surgical hands.

In fact, the surgeon was great.

There were no complications.

There was no real blood loss.

The surgery went well.


When they tried to wake him up after this 'simple' hernia surgery.

They couldn't.

He was groggy.

He was sleepy.

He wouldn't respond to the anesthesiologist's questions.

Following surgery, the anesthesiologist routinely asks the patient a series of questions to make sure they're oriented to 'person', 'place' and 'time'.

"Hey Mr. Jones, do you know where you are?"

"Do you know who the President is?"

"Do you know what month and date it is?"

After surgery, the anesthesiologist must reverse the anesthesia to wake the patient up.

Except in this case, the patient wasn't waking up.

He was not arousable.

That's a problem.

The doctor gave him a few more doses of medication to try and reverse the anesthesia.

There was little effect.

This was not good.

The young man was transferred to the recovery room.

While there, the anesthesiologist decided it would be a good idea to keep the patient overnight.

"Let's keep this patient overnight and watch him," the anesthesiologist says.

"We'll watch him since this was the last case of the day and we can't discharge him in his condition anyway."

Rather than send him to a floor with continuous electronic vital sign monitoring, he was sent elsewhere.

He was sent to a medical floor to be watched.

The hospital's idea of watching this overly anesthetized patient was to put him in a room without any monitoring devices.

On this unmonitored floor, the nurses only checked on patients every four hours.

And that's what they did.

When he was brought in, his vital signs were checked.

He was alive.

He was asleep.

He was breathing just fine.

He wasn't on any breathing machine.

He wasn't on life support...at least not yet.

When a nurse returned to check on this patient in the early morning hours, she found him blue and not breathing.

CPR was immediately started.

The emergency doctors and nurses spent 30 minutes running a code to resuscitate him.

They successfully got his heart beating again.

But there was a problem.

A big one.

He was not conscious.

He could not breathe for himself.

He needed to be intubated.

He needed to be put on life support machines to keep him alive.

 He never regained conciousness.

Although they got his heart beating again, his brain had suffered massive permanent damage.

He had been without oxygen for an extensive amount of time.

In medical terms, a decreased amount of oxygen is known as hypoxia.

A total lack of oxygen is known as anoxia.

There was no question that this young man suffered both hypoxia and anoxia.

That's why he suffered such extensive brain damage.

That severe brain damge led to all of his organs shutting down.

Medically, this is known as 'multi-system organ failure'.

The intensive care unit doctors said he was 'brain dead'.

That meant that machines were mechanically breathing for him and keeping him 'alive'.

If the machines were shut off, he'd die.

He had no brain activity.

His brain suffered a tremendous loss of oxygen.

This 'routine' surgery should have been routine.

The surgeon did everything right.

The hernia repair was a total success.

The problem was that the anesthesiologist over-medicated the patient.

The problem was that the hospital failed to monitor this heavily anesthetized patient.

They also failed to recognize the patient wasn't breathing which led to his brain damage, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

The hospital staff's failure to recognize that the patient was in cardiac and respiratory arrest was a clear violation from the basic stanard of medical care.

That carelessness was directly responsible for this patient's untimely death.

To learn more about this tragic case, I invite you to watch the video below...


Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer