NJ Medical Malpractice Victim with Cognitive Impairments will Testify in Retrial
Proper administration and monitoring while under anesthesia is absolutely essential to prevent serious harm when a person undergoes surgery or another medical procedure. One recent case exemplifies just how much can go wrong when an anesthesiologist fails to address complications during surgery. In this New Jersey medical malpractice case, the victim was granted a retrial after a judge prevented him from testifying in the initial trial, deciding that his cognitive impairments were too prejudicial for the jury. In this article, we will discuss the intricacies of anesthesiologist errors and the legal implications for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of anesthesiologist negligence in New Jersey, contact Fronzuto Law Group to discuss your specific case with a medical malpractice attorney. We assist clients with claims against doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers throughout New Jersey and will provide you with an honest assessment of your case. Call 973-435-4551 or fill out our online form to arrange a free case evaluation.
When an Anesthesiologist Fails to Address Complications During Surgery
The anesthesiologist’s job is not over when he or she administers the initial anesthesia prior to a surgical procedure. While you’re “put under,” you will likely feel no sensation, have no awareness, and you may be paralyzed and/or unconscious. While this prevents you from feeling pain, it also means you cannot respond to typical signals from your body that something is wrong. This is the critical role that the anesthesiologist, surgeon, other doctors and nurses must play during and after your surgery.
In the case of Blessing v. Chiu, the victim, Forked River, New Jersey resident Guy Blessing, underwent an endoscopic procedure in December 2010. Doctor Nicholas Chiu served as the anesthesiologist during the procedure. According to the medical malpractice claim, Blessing experienced respiratory distress and resulting oxygen deprivation for approximately 11 minutes while under anesthesia. The lack of sufficient oxygen to his brain led to severe brain damage and cognitive impairments. Sadly, Mr. Blessing will need long-term care due to the nature and extent of the damage to his brain.
Cognitive Impairments in Medical Malpractice Claims
When a medical negligence victim experiences cognitive impairments as a result of their injuries, it raises many questions in the context of New Jersey medical malpractice law. For instance, this case presents the following question:
“If a medical malpractice victim in New Jersey suffers cognitive impairments, can they testify during the trial in their medical malpractice case?”
According to the New Jersey Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court, the answer is yes. Mr. Blessing was initially prevented from testifying in the trial against his anesthesiologist. A Superior Court Judge in Ocean County ruled that the plaintiff’s cognitive impairments were simply too prejudicial, meaning they would influence the jury to draw a conclusion before hearing all of the facts of the case.
After the testimony was barred, the trial resulted in a no-cause verdict. Mr. Blessing took the case up on appeal, after which the New Jersey Appellate Division ordered a new trial. The Appellate Division quoted a prior NJ Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Stigliano v. Connaught Labs in 1995, stating: “Relevant and probative evidence is often prejudicial to one party, and we ‘would ill-serve the cause of truth and justice if we were to exclude relevant and credible evidence only because it might help one side and adversely affect the other.”
In the most recent development in this case, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided not to intervene, allowing the retrial to proceed as ordered by the Appellate Court. The retrial date has yet to be set, but this case amounts to a substantial judgment in favor of New Jersey medical malpractice victims.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against an Anesthesiologist?
When dealing with injuries resulting from an anesthesiologist’s mistakes, you may be wondering about your legal options. In New Jersey, an anesthesiologist can be held accountable for medical negligence through malpractice litigation. Our firm, Fronzuto Law Group, has been successfully advocating for victims of anesthesia errors and other forms of medical malpractice for years. With a team led by Certified Supreme Court Civil Trial Attorney Ernest P. Fronzuto, we have recovered millions in damages for clients throughout New Jersey. To find out if you have a potential claim and discuss how we can help you recover maximum compensation, call our office at 973-435-4551 or contact us online.