Jury rules for mocked patient in defamation, medical malpractice suit

Defamation-definitionA jury in Virginia has ruled in favor of a patient who was mocked by his physician during a colonscopy.

The patient recorded the incident in April 2013 using his smartphone while being prepped for the procedure.  His intent was to capture the doctor’s post-operation instructions, but he forgot to turn off the device.  The resulting commentary by his physicians was both demeaning and unprofessional.

Anesthesiologist Tiffany Ingham was recorded saying to the sedated patient that “after five minutes of talking to you in pre-op, I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit.”

When a medical assistant noted the man had a rash, the anesthesiologist warned her not to touch it, saying she might get “some syphilis on your arm or something,” and then added, “It’s probably tuberculosis in the penis, so you’ll be all right.”

The jury awarded the man $100,000 for defamation – $50,000 each for the comments about the man having syphilis and tuberculosis – $200,000 for medical malpractice, and $200,000 in punitive damages.

The verdict reflects an appropriate distate for well-compensated highly educated professisonals whose behavior is more like a high school bully than a physician performing a potentially dangerous medical procedure.

If you have questions about defamation or malpractice, contact the attorneys at Bryan & Terrill, 918-935-2777.