To WIN YOUR CASE, You Need to Know: What are THEY Thinking?

What is the attorney's strategy?

How does a physician avoid malpractice?

Can the insurer prevent a large payout?

Does the employer face worker issues?
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Current Issue: July 2018
Out of Surgery and Into Recovery: Post-Op Risks

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Post-Operative Liability

Post-operative care in the recovery room or a post-anesthesia care unit is the care a patient receives immediately after a surgical procedure. Post-operative complications may occur and must be timely treated.


A tragedy at a Pennsylvania surgical center noted the dangers in medical recovery rooms when an outpatient tonsillectomy resulted in a teen’s death. The lawsuit alleged "She died as a result of being abandoned, not monitored, and not watched by nurses, in the recovery room for a period of over 25 minutes… [the teen] laid there helpless after nurses administered a dose of the painkiller fentanyl."

Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with a recovery room or post-anesthesia care unit injury. 

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy


What proof is needed for a medical malpractice action involving a post-surgical recovery injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?


How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for a post-surgical recovery injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?


Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the patient’s post-surgical recovery injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?


Can a hospital or other employer of a physician or other health care provider be subject to liability for the provider’s negligence or medical malpractice involving a post-surgical recovery injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?

Practice the Technique: Checklists


Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence related to postoperative recovery injury.


Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence related to a patient’s postoperative recovery injury.


The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of postoperative recovery injury.


Use this checklist to determine if a hospital employer may be held vicariously liable for the actions of an employee or agent, such as a recovery room nurse.

Expert Analysis

How Can Post-Operative Delirium in Older Patients be Prevented and Treated?

Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH and Thomas Robinson, MD

How Can Post-Op Patient Pain Be Safely Controlled Using Opioids?

Tim J. Lamer, MD


Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.

Reasons to Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.

Reasons to Go to Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.

Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving postoperative and recovery room injuries?

Medical Information

Surgical Recovery and the Recovery Room

This section provides detailed medical information on patient recovery from surgery including recovery room standards, recovery room care protocols, recovery room/post-op complications, patient return to the operating room or to the hospital after discharge, and patient discharge or transfer from the recovery room. Also discussed is the patient’s prognosis and ability to work after surgery.

Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on medical malpractice or negligence involving recovery from surgery.

Medical Law Perspectives
Other Reports

Compounded Drugs: Mix of Risk and Liability

Nursing Home Injuries: Acute Risks for Subacute and Skilled Nursing Care

Retained Surgical Items: Internal Risks and Liabilities

Failure to Comply with Advance Directive: Deadly Risk

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This Week’s Scalpel News:

Interrogatories to Hospital: Recovery Room Injury

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Occupational Exposure Limits for Heat Stress in Outdoor Workers