Patient wins lawsuit after anesthesiologist mocks him during surgery

WASHINGTON — A Vienna, Virginia man has been awarded $500,000 after an anesthesiologist repeatedly mocked and insulted him while the man was sedated during a colonoscopy.

The patient had hit “record” on his smartphone’s audio recorder before surgery, and tucked it in his pants beneath a table in a Reston medical suite, because he wanted to preserve instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure.

On his way home, as he listened to the recording, he heard the medical professionals make fun of him, hypothesize that he had serious diseases, and place a false diagnosis on his chart, according to The Washington Post.

“After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit,” the anesthesiologist told the sedated patient.

When an assistant pointed out a rash, the anesthesiologist, Tiffany Ingham, warned her not to touch it saying she might get “some syphilis on your arm or something.”

Ingham added, “It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right,” according to audio clips that were admitted as evidence in the civil trial.

A Fairfax County jury awarded the patient $100,000 for defamation, $200,000 for medical malpractice, and $200,000 for punitive damages.

On the first day of the trial, the gastroenterologist who performed the colonoscopy, Soloman Shah, was dismissed from the case, despite making insulting remarks and not discouraging Ingham from writing on the patient’s chart that he had hemorrhoids, when he did not.

Listen to audio clips from conversations between a gastroenterologist, an anesthesiologist, and a medical assistant during a colonoscopy, as reported by The Washington Post.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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