Visitor Question

Doctor Stitched My Foot Before Anesthesia Took Effect…

Submitted By: Jake (Rochester, NY)

I cut the bottom of my foot a half inch deep and 3 inches across. I went to the emergency room and the doctor injected me with a numbing agent in my big toe then started stitching right away. She didn’t wait for the anesthesia to take effect.

I almost blacked out from extreme pain and almost had an anxiety attack because the doctor did not know what she was doing. She didn’t finish the stitches because I was in so much pain. I ended up leaving with one stitch in my foot. Can I pursue a lawsuit against this doctor for causing me so much pain?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jake,

Not really. Although the doctor appears to have misdiagnosed the effectiveness of the anesthesia, your pain wasn’t severe enough to be the basis of a viable lawsuit. Although no one would doubt the excruciating pain you were in, that pain was transient.

“Almost” having an anxiety attack isn’t sufficient grounds for a lawsuit.

Doctors make mistakes all the time, as do lawyers, plumbers, teachers, and other working people. Suing a doctor because she began to tend to your wound before you were fully anesthetized doesn’t constitute malpractice. Unless you can prove the doctor’s treatment of the wound itself was unreasonably inappropriate, any lawsuit you might consider would probably fail.

Let’s look at it another way. Let’s say you filed a lawsuit alleging as its basis the severe pain you suffered for a matter of seconds. From the facts you present, it appears the second she placed the first stitch in your foot you recoiled in pain. As you did you pulled away and left the hospital.

Questions a judge or jury would want answered in a trial would be:

-How much money is pain which lasted a matter of seconds and resulted in no other injury worth?

-And why did you leave the hospital with only one stitch?

If the doctor didn’t wait for the anesthesia to take its full effect, she did so unintentionally. Once she knew you were in pain she would have waited until the anesthesia took its full effect. You didn’t give her that opportunity. Instead you apparently stormed out of the hospital.

You should have waited until the anesthesia took effect. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume the doctor would have waited as well, and all of this could have been avoided.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 25, 2012

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