Propofol, the anesthetic that pop star Michael Jackson fatally overdosed on in 2009, has made its way into the news once again. An orthopedic surgeon from Fargo was recently acquitted on criminal charges that he drugged his wife, pediatrician with propofol and sexually assaulted her.
During the trial, the wife testified that her husband sexually assaulted her after injecting her with propofol, an anesthetic that is normally used to sedate patients before surgery. Park Rapids Enterprise reports that only two days after a jury found the defendant not guilty of gross sexual imposition and reckless endangerment, the wife filed a civil lawsuit against her estranged husband, seeking more than $50,000 in damages, including loss of income and employment, as well as damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
The Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The 17-page malpractice lawsuit claims propofol isn’t for home use, wasn’t used on the plaintiff with proper monitoring or safety equipment and was dangerously mixed with other medications–all which are allegations that were raised in the criminal case. The lawsuit also alleges that the doctor negligently failed to obtain informed consent from his wife before giving her the drug, irrespective of the fact that she herself is a doctor.
The lawsuit further claims that the administration of propofol and other dangerous drugs caused the woman to suffer memory loss, confusion, inability to remain conscious, organ failure, and “other physical and emotional harm.”
The defendant is expected to take a similar defense to his criminal trial, stating that, “[My wife] was aware of the risks, the benefits, she requested it, all the same stuff that we talked about during the [criminal] trial.”
Additional defendants included in the suit are: the Plastic Surgery Institute, where the surgeon worked and obtained the propofol for home use; the PSI Surgical Center of which he was a member; one of the surgery institute’s owners; and a nurse who works at the institute and testified as a defense witness in the trial.
According to the complaint, the defendants “did, could, or should have foreseen the risk of the potential harm caused by the unsupervised or unmonitored release of propofol and other dangerous drugs requiring a doctor’s prescription for use.”
As the misuse of proporfol persists long after the unethical application that lead to the death of famed pop singer, Michael Jackson, our firm continues to diligently represent Illinois residents in medical malpractice suits.
Legal Help in Chicago
Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm has understood that patients face significant risks if the safeguards for sedation are not correctly in place when propofol is administered. Moreover, our lawyers understand the concern regarding the role propofol should play. The worst medical disasters often occur during sedation.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by careless medical professionals–doctors, nurses, aides, and others-then you may have a personal injury or wrongful death claim. We welcome the opportunity to review the details of your case and to consult with you on the best course of action.