Anesthesiologist Ridicules Colonoscopy Patient and Pays the Price

Steve Cid | July 17th, 2015

IV machine hospitalWith a stunning display of unprofessionalism, a Virginia anesthesiologist has lost her job, her reputation, and a $500,000 civil court decision for medical malpractice and defamation. As reported by the Washington Post, Dr. Tiffany Ingham was caught on a cell phone recorder unmercifully mocking and ridiculing a patient undergoing a colonoscopy in a Reston medical practice. The man, identified only as DB in court records, had gone to Ms. Ingham’s medical practice employer, Aisthesis, for the procedure in April 2013.

The cell phone, which belonged to the patient and had mistakenly been left on after he recorded post-op procedure instructions, was under the operating table in a pocket of the patient’s trousers and recorded the entire operating room conversation.

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Recording is damning evidence in Virginia malpractice lawsuit

“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,” said Ms. Ingham to the patient she had just rendered unconscious. When an assistant noticed a rash on ‘DB”, Ingham warned her that if she rubbed against it, she “might get syphilis on your arm or something.” She didn’t stop there. “It’s probably tuberculosis of the penis, so you’ll be all right.”

Ms. Ingham also said that she would record a diagnosis of hemorrhoids on “DB’s” chart even though both she and the gastroenterologist knew the diagnosis was false.

She also disparaged other patients in general by saying that, “People are into their medical problems. They need to have medical problems.” She couldn’t resist a jab at one of her assistants who claimed to get queasy at the sight of needles, saying “Well, what are you looking for then, retard?”

Liability for slander can be established with one remark to a single person

The case is unusual because conversations between doctors are usually privileged, but in this case, there was one person in the room who was not a doctor. This made all of the doctors in the room liable for a possible defamation suit.

In the Ingham vs DB case, the remarks by Ingham were so egregious and unprofessional that the jury could not help but be offended and award DB a victory in the suit.

Jury delivers a resounding win for the plaintiff

The jury awarded the plaintiff DB $100,000 for Ingham’s defamatory lies regarding the syphilis and tuberculosis, $200,000 for general medical malpractice including the false diagnosis, and another $200,000 for punitive damages to send Ms. Ingham a stern message about her unprofessional behavior. Ingham’s employer at the time, Aisthesis, was also ordered to pay $50,000 of the punitive damages to DB.

File a NY hospital malpractice lawsuit if you are harmed by doctors or staff

The Washington Post reports that Ms. Ingham left or was ordered to leave her job as anesthesiologist at Aisthesis. The Post reported that Ingham may have moved to Florida but that has not been confirmed by any parties.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries resulting from anesthesia accidents in New York, you may be entitled to monetary damages for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and other intangible losses.

To discuss your legal rights and options with a hospital negligence attorney, contact The Sanders Firm for a complimentary case evaluation. Our veteran team of attorneys can answer all your questions about anesthesia malpractice and more, and help you outline your best course of action for securing compensation. Call toll-free 1.800.FAIR.PLAY.