drunk doctor pennsylvania family files medical malpractice suit

Even the most basic medical procedures come with risks. Doctors, surgeons and nurses spend years in medical school so they are ready to effectively handle anything that may arise during a patient’s hospital visit. However, in order to give patients the treatment they need, health care professionals must always perform at the top of their game.

Recently, the family of a former Pennsylvania councilman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous health care providers who operated on the councilman before he died last year.

The councilman’s daughter — who is the executor of the estate — worked with Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys to file the lawsuit on behalf of herself, her three brothers and their mother. The lawsuit names numerous parties, including the hospital, physician groups, several doctors and a certified nurse anesthetist. The lawsuit also named three doctors by name — an anesthesiologist and two surgeons.

The lawsuit makes two main claims. The first claim is that negligence in the councilman’s treatment and care caused his wrongful death. The second claim is directed at the actions of the anesthesiologist. The lawsuit alleges that the anesthesiologist — who has received numerous convictions for drunk driving — was impaired during surgery.

Like most parts of medicine, anesthesiology has improved vastly over the years. Today, anesthesiologists must choose from a wide range of medications when putting a patient to sleep. A doctor who is intoxicated may fail to think about the side effects of the drug or how it will react with other medications the patient is being given.

Even if the councilman’s family receives a financial settlement from the medical malpractice lawsuit, it cannot heal the pain the family is experiencing. However, it could help send a clear message that egregious negligence like practicing medicine while drunk or otherwise intoxicated cannot be allowed to go unpunished.

Source: The Tribune-Democrat, “Gallo family sues over ex-councilman’s death,” Sandra K. Reabuck, Oct. 11, 2011

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