Attorney Mark Taneyhill discusses what to do if a medical provider is intoxicated when operating on you.
Hello, I am Mark Taneyhill from the law firm Schwartz & Schwartz. I’m here today to respond to a viewer question that we received. The question was, “I went in for surgery and later found out the medical provider was drunk. Do I have a case”? This is a good question. I’m sorry to hear that something like that would occur, but doctors are people just like all of us. I was actually, recently, looking at an article online about a registered nurse who was accused of participating in surgery at a VA hospital in Pennsylvania while intoxicated. The registered nurse participated in an appendectomy procedure and there was video surveillance of the registered nurse showing up at the hospital; stumbling inside. Clearly intoxicated on the video. During the course of the surgery, it appeared that the registered nurse was unable to perform the task that he was assigned to do during the procedure.
For this viewer, in your particular case, you may have one if you were injured or suffered harm due to the surgeon being intoxicated during the procedure being performed. There has to be some type of injury or harm that was caused. In which case that provider, surgeon, or nurse who was intoxicated and hurt you could be liable. This is a case where you may be entitled to compensatory damages, which would be damaging to attempt to put you back in the situation that you would have been, had this unfortunate incident had not occurred.
You may also be entitled to a special type of damages under law, which are called punitive damages. Those damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer for their conduct and also to deter others from participating in this type of conduct in the future.
Now for this viewer, if you weren’t injured, if this surgery was a success and there were no complications, there was no harm that you suffered due to this surgeon performing the procedure while they were intoxicated, there may not be a case. There would have to be causation between the surgeon’s wrongful conduct, in this case, doing this while intoxicated, and harm or damage that you suffered.
In either case, though, I just responded based on the information you provided. I would encourage you to reach out to a local personal injury attorney to handle medical negligence claims and speak with them further about the particulars of your case.
R. Mark Taneyhill is a Delaware personal injury lawyer who focuses his practice on the representation of those injured due to the carelessness and negligence of others. Mark primarily represents those who have been injured in car accidents, commercial truck and bus accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Mark also represents people injured in premises liability accidents such as slip and falls, trip and falls, and other accidents occurring on land. Mark has broad experience litigating asbestosis and mesothelioma personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Mark sees clients in both the Wilmington, DE and Dover, Delaware Law offices. Give us a call today!