Disruptive Practitioner: “Offensive Touching” Not Intended as Part of Surgical Consent

October 1, 2013 | Health System Risk Management


A California appellate court reversed a trial court's dismissal of a plaintiff's lawsuit alleging negligence, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of an anesthesiologist, the anesthesiologist group, and the hospital where the plaintiff allegedly awoke as she was undergoing a dilation and curettage procedure after a miscarriage.

According to the plaintiff, while in the recovery room, she requested to speak with the anesthesiologist to understand why she awoke during the procedure. The anesthesiologist was allegedly visibly upset and raised her voice during the conversation with the patient, saying that while she could have awakened during the procedure, "the suction sound and pain was nothing more than blood being suctioned from the plaintiff's uterus." The anesthesiologist left and returned with a container filled with blood and other materials to prove her point to the plaintiff. She "gestured" as if to hand the plaintiff the container, allegedly coming within inches of the...

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