A Virginia man was sued and won in a lawsuit involving his anesthesiologist after his phone recorded the physician mocking and insulting him while he was sedated and documenting a false diagnosis during a colonoscopy.
“After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op,” the anesthesiologist told the sedated patient, “I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit,” she was recorded saying.
When a medical assistant noted the man had a rash, the anesthesiologist warned her not to touch it, saying she might get “some syphilis on your arm or something,” then added, “It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right.”
When the assistant noted that the man reported getting queasy when watching a needle placed in his arm, the anesthesiologist remarked on the recording, “Well, why are you looking then, retard?”
The jury awarded the man $100,000 for defamation — $50,000 each for the comments about the man having syphilis and tuberculosis — and $200,000 for medical malpractice, as well as the $200,000 in punitive damages.
At one point, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Tiffany Ingham, wonders aloud if the patient is gay, then said “I’m going to mark ‘hemorrhoids’ even though we don’t see them and probably won’t,” and did write a diagnosis of hemorrhoids on the man’s chart, which the lawsuit said was a falsification of medical records.
The award was a compromise by the jury who ranged from wanting to award more to one juror who didn’t want to award anything to the patient.
Note: Virginia is a “one-party consent” state, meaning that only one person involved in a conversation need agree to the recording.
Listen to “low-lights” of the recording below: