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Some medical malpractice claims are to teach doctors a lesson

When most Oregon residents think about medical malpractice suits, they envision a person who was somehow maimed by a doctor leaving him or her with a permanent disability or dead. That is not always the case, however. For example, a man from another state recently received a jury award that was, in part, for medical malpractice.

In 2013, the man went in for a colonoscopy and decided to record the examination in order to make sure that he received all of the doctor's post-operative instructions. Unbeknownst to everyone in the room, including the patient, the entire exam and procedure were recorded. When he listened to the recording later, he discovered that the anesthesiologist made numerous disparaging remarks about him while he was out.

The anesthesiologist expressed a desire to punch the Virginia man in the face, remarked that a rash on him might give a medical assistant syphilis, and said he may even have tuberculosis in his penis. The man was awarded a total of $500,000, which included $200,000 for medical malpractice, $200,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for each defaming remark the doctor made. One of the jurors noted that since there was a recording of the incident, a defense was nearly impossible.

The jury made the award, at least in part, to ensure that this type of behavior did not reoccur. This medical malpractice case is a glaring example of teaching doctors a lesson when it comes to their treatment of patients. Just like this man, every patient in Oregon deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Source: oregonlive.com, "Patient awarded $500K after anesthesiologist mocks him during colonoscopy", June 24, 2015

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