SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man who said a hospital failed to sedate him during an outpatient procedure last fall went as far as to get an independent drug screening to prove the powerful drugs were not in his system.
“When I never had that moment where I either felt loopy or had any time loss, or anything like that, it was clear to me that that had not been done,” said Ian Chase, describing his visit to University Health’s Robert B. Green Campus on Sept. 27.
Patient records released to KSAT Investigates by University Health show that Chase was billed for doses of both fentanyl and midazolam, a benzodiazepine. Together the two drugs are supposed to create “twilight anesthesia,” during which a patient is conscious but sedated.
Chase, however, said he was alert for the entire procedure and suffered a great deal of abdominal discomfort.
“Nobody talked to me about taking anesthesia. There was no mention. They’re supposed to warn you before they administer it. And that didn’t happen,” said Chase.
He said after the procedure the discharge nurse insisted that he had been administered the drug cocktail, leading Chase to realize that he would be billed for medicine that was not given to him.
Within hours of the procedure, Chase’s wife got him an at-home drug test that showed neither of the drugs was in his system.
“At that point, I decided to go ahead and go to a formal drug testing place like they do for a job, just so that I would have proof and a chain of custody that would back me up on that.
Chase spent more than $200 to be tested at a lab off Highway 281 North. It showed that he tested negative for both opiates or benzodiazepines.
The test was taken approximately six hours after the outpatient procedure took place, hospital and lab records show.
Chase said after insurance, his bill was around $1,200, of which more than $900 was for anesthesia he did not receive.
An attorney hired by Chase sent University Health a demand letter in October claiming that Chase had received negligent treatment and endured “intense, overwhelming, and unnecessary” pain and suffering.
The letter, which is often a precursor to a formal lawsuit, did not sway the hospital to toss out the bill, according to Chase.
“I feel like I have no recourse. I mean, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of you if I had brought this to their attention and they had addressed it,” said Chase.
University Health officials, after obtaining Chase’s consent, released medical and billing records related to his procedure.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for University Health told KSAT:
“I learned that we are working directly with Mr. Chase to answer his questions and resolve his concerns. Providing the very best care and meeting our patients’ expectations are central to our values and why we are here. Clearly, we did not meet Mr. Chase’s expectations in this situation. We will absolutely continue to work with him to reassure him of our commitment to safe, high quality and compassionate care.”