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Doctor to Pay for Trashing Sleeping Patient in Reston Operating Room

by Karen Goff — June 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm 2,348 25 Comments

justice1An anesthesiologist has been ordered by a Fairfax County judge to pay a local man $500,000 after the doctor said insulting things about the man while he was sedated for a colonoscopy at a Reston facility in 2013, The Washington Post reported.

The man, who lives in Vienna, said in his defamation and medical malpractice lawsuit that the anesthesiologist, Tiffany M. Ingham, who is apparently no longer practicing in the area, mocked him while he was asleep.

The whole thing was recorded. The man had turned his smartphone’s audio recorder on in order to make sure he accurately understood his doctor’s post-op instructions.

It turns out the whole surgery was taped. On the audio, Ingham is heard saying she wanted to punch the patient in the face; called him annoying, a wimp, and other disparaging names; and accused him of having syphilis and tuberculosis.

Listen to the audio on the link below.

After a three-day trial, the jury awarded the man $100,000 for defamation — $50,000 each for the comments about the man having syphilis and tuberculosis — and $200,000 for medical malpractice, as well as the $200,000 in punitive damages, the Post reported.

One of the jurors said the man’s attorneys had asked for $1.75 million, and that the $500,000 award was a compromise between one juror who thought the man deserved nothing and at least one who thought he deserved more.

  • June Smith

    Solomon Shah, the gastroenterologist, is still listed as a practicting physician on the Reston Hospital Center website

    • Karen Goff

      The anesthesiologist appears to not be practicing around here anymore. The case against Shah was dismissed and neither doctor has faced disciplinary action from the state board, so no reason why gastro would not be on RHC’s roster.

      • June Smith

        He was in the room at the time – did nothing to stop the anesthesiologist and did nothing to stop the staff from falisfying his medical records – saying he had hemorrhoids … whenever any physician allows this to happen, he should lose his license.

  • Michael C

    I am torn on this one because I think the doctors should be penalized, but I don’t think the patient deserves anywhere near a half million dollars, if any money at all. There was no harm done here other than maybe some hurt feelings.

    The fact that the man was asking for 1.75 million dollars over this just shows how much of a greedy sue-happy society we have these days.

    • June Smith

      His medical records were falsified – saying he had hemorrhoids which would have required additional medical care.

      • Michael C

        I don’t see it mentioned in the article anywhere that this resulted in any added cost to the patient. So what is he being compensated for besides hurt feelings?

        • carmen shepherd

          Wait until you might be in need of similar medical care, and you may be singing a different tune… He absolutely does deserve monetary compensation. What other punishment has a greater effect? Their behavior was despicable, and it’s too bad there are so many who are accepting of this “blowing off steam from a stressful job”… They are supposed to be Professionals… What a joke!

          • taffytoo

            agree 100%

    • Agnes Nutter

      Falsifying medical records is very, very serious and the patient definitely deserved compensation.

    • Markus Davenport

      Alright then- put us a figure on what you think it takes to quell such crass and blatantly unethical behavior on the part of those who often hold us so vulnerably near death’s doorstep, as regards the respect, dignity, and well being of the patient- and in the case of falsified records, the illegal behavior?! Consider the extensive training and sworn adherence to standards of conduct, high octane salaries, and awesome trust we place upon these professionals- whom we would not otherwise expect to exhibit such flippant regard directly toward those in such a defenseless state. Tell us, Michael….

      • Michael C

        You don’t understand me, I am not saying the doctors should not be punished/fined. I am saying the patient shouldn’t be given any of that money.

        A half million dollar tube of preparation H? Please, penalize the doctors, but the patient had no harm done that cost him anywhere near $500,000. This is just a money grab and really sad that our society allows it. If the incident resulted in some sort of permanent damage, or negligence like amputating a limb when it shouldn’t have been, then you can actually say the patient was irreparably harmed and should be compensated for the permanent damage done.

        You need to separate fining/punishing the doctors from rewarding the patient here who was not harmed permanently in any way. There is no way he deserves even $50,000 here let alone $500,000. He deserves an apology and to see the doctors punished for their behavior. He doesn’t deserve a windfall because he happened to be teased by his doctors while sedated and they joked about saying he had hemorrhoids.

        • Tina Florence

          There was emotional harm done. How can this man ever go to the doctor’s again and trust anyone in the medical profession. And Michael do not forget the time, energy and guts it took for this patient to find a lawyer, make a case, testify in court and go against an anesthesiologist, the other staff and the medical profession to make a point. The patient’s time is worth compensation to bring this type of behavior to the for front and let the public know. Hooray to the patient. I congratulate you for your efforts

    • Ming the Merciless

      It is called “sending a message” – and I hope ALL physicians will listen to it.

    • taffytoo

      this number didn’t come out of the blue..his attorney has nothing to lose, to ask for this amt….so glad this victim though unintentional had his phone on…so much for the hippocratic oath…

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Calling somebody an annoying git shouldn’t be slander or libel if the person is an annoying git. Falsifying the medical records of said annoying git is a different matter. Geez, I’ve been called a lot worse than that by my wife.

    I understand that people don’t like needles, but “whoozy”? Maybe he should have had his colonoscopy without the advantage of anesthesia if he’s really that averse to needles.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Yeah, the guy was only unconscious in the presence of an abusive psycho who was injecting drugs into him… can’t understand why he had a problem with that.

  • Heather Daugherty

    This doctor almost cost my husband his life I am not kidding

  • Heather Daugherty

    Because of Dr. shah my husband almost bled to death he is practicing

    • Markus Davenport

      Please tell us more if you can, Heather. I am glad to know he survived the frightening ordeal!

  • beverly

    Dr. Shah will be one less patient rich because I’m not returning to him. Who wants to be put into a drugged,quasi-hypnotic state and be exposed to such venom? If he’s done it once, it’s not unlikely that he’s part of a culture of disrespect and verbal abuse. In fact, I won’t be returning to the Reston facility again. Maybe his comments and those of Dr. Ingham, the anestheologist were funny, but the patient had the last laugh. Ha-ha!

  • Markus Davenport

    The fact that Soloman Shah, the principal gastroenterologist physician, doesn’t appear on the recording to do or say anything to discourage the out of control anesthesiologist (in fact he contributed to her rant to some degree) …. speaks volumes!

    • I went to Dr Shah for a few months to treat a gastro issue, his lack of social skills and general unpleasantness caused me to find a new Dr. So this story isn’t very surprising to me.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    “The northern virginia syndrome” – they bashed us! Are we eligible?

    • Markus Davenport

      That was Soloman Shah’s complaint and response, apparently- to this entire episode…. Does he continue to enjoy his “service” to your community?! (Keep us updated!)

  • Maud Kennedy

    Except there’re many doctors who will do whatever they want,no matter how opposed to versed you are. Some even try and blackmail patients to accept versed saying they won’t get any pain meds if they don’t accept versed also.

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