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Patient dies after doctor consults Youtube for surgical advice

Just about everyone looks up how to do things on the internet these days -- and YouTube can be a big help if you're trying to figure out how to install a garbage disposal or get a pair of false eyelashes in place.

However, you probably ought to consider other options -- like asking a fellow physician for assistance -- before you try to copy a dangerous medical procedure that you've only seen done on YouTube.

Because one South Carolina physician decided to use YouTube instead of common sense and the assistance of his fellow doctors, another man lost his life due to a sore throat and a common allergic reaction to penicillin.

The patient had gone to his local hospital's emergency room complaining of a sore throat. He was given penicillin and sent home. When he developed an obvious allergic reaction that caused his tongue and throat to swell up, impairing his ability to breathe, swallow, and speak properly, he came back.

Instead of treating the patient's condition with the standard antihistamines and corticosteroids, the doctor utterly failed to even recognize that the man was having an allergic reaction.

Because he didn't recognize the allergic reaction, the patient continued to deteriorate while the doctor tried to force a breathing tube down his throat. When that failed, he turned to YouTube and looked up how to perform an emergency cricothyrotomy, which would create an alternative airway through which the patient could breathe.

He could have consulted with the surgical resident on duty instead, but that didn't seem to occur to him. In addition, he ordered the medical staff doing chest compressions on the patient, whose heart had stopped, to cease their efforts to save him since he still didn't have an open airway -- an act that goes against the accepted standard of care for patients in cardiac arrest.

The patient's widow is suing the doctor and the hospital for her husband's wrongful death. The doctor, a graduate of an Egyptian medical school, already has a questionable history due to a misdemeanor assault on a female physician's assistant in another state, although he characterize his conviction as "unfair."

Cases like these illustrate how easily something relatively simple and common can turn into a tragedy through ignorance and possible arrogance. If your loved one suffered a wrongful death due to medical malpractice, consult an attorney today.

Source: today.mims.com, "Doctor consults YouTube video for emergency procedure causing patient death," Rachel Seah, March 23, 2017

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