BOONE COUNTY, MISSOURI. DEFENSE VERDICT.
The plaintiff, a morbidly obese female, presented to an endoscopy center in Columbia, MO on March 20, 2012, to have an upper endoscopy performed to confirm a diagnosis of gallstones. Immediately after administering IV Propofol to the plaintiff, the nurse anesthetist overseeing administration of anesthesia observed that the plaintiff’s airway had obstructed. She responded to this emergent situation by performing a chin lift and then a jaw thrust, which successfully restored the plaintiff’s airway. The nurse anesthetist’s prompt action prevented a catastrophic injury while also allowing completion of the endoscopy procedure. Following the endoscopy procedure, Plaintiff developed right facial numbness. She filed suit claiming that the defendant endoscopy center was vicariously liable for the nurse anesthetist whom she alleged performed the chin lift and jaw thrust with excessive force and failed to intubate and/or use a pharyngeal mask to open her airway thereby causing permanent injury to her 7th cranial nerve. The plaintiff made no claim for medical expenses but did allege $150,000 in non-economic damages for past and future pain and suffering. The defendant denied the allegations, claiming that nurse anesthetist acted appropriately and within the standard of care. After four days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant in a little over an hour.