An 18-year-old female in Florida decided to have elective breast augmentation surgery at a Florida outpatient cosmetic surgery clinic. Little did she know that the physician who administered the anesthesia for her procedure was a convicted felon.
Within five minutes after the plastic surgery procedure was completed on August 12, 2013, the patient suffered hypotension, developed bradycardia, and experienced very slow breathing that the physician failed to properly treat, causing her to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.
The Florida Department of Health investigated the incident and reported that the patient’s cardiovascular changes progressed to the point that the physician administered atropine and, a few minutes later, ephedrine, in an effort to increase her heart rate and blood pressure. The physician started chest compressions after he administered the atropine. When the atropine and ephedrine were ineffective, he administered epinephrine to increase the patient’s heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
The physician’s efforts at resuscitating the patient lasted over thirty minutes. The patient stabilized but did not wake up. The physician did not instruct that EMT services be called until one hour after the surgery.
The physician inserted an endotracheal tube to manage the patient’s airway during her transfer to the hospital. Once she arrived at the hospital, it was determined that she had suffered severe anoxic encephalopathy.
The Florida Department of Health determined that the physician should have administered vasopressors in a more aggressive and timely fashion, including the earlier administration of epinephrine and the use of norepinephrine, vasopressin, and fluids. The Florida Department of Health further determined that the physician failed to convert to an endotracheal tube during what was a prolonged resuscitation, which created a situation wherein after the physician initiated chest compressions he would have been unable to also ventilate the patient with a breathing bag.
The Florida Department of Health concluded that the physician had failed to meet the standard of care by failing to timely and aggressively manage the patient’s severe hypotension with aggressive vasopressor use and fluid administration, and/or by failing to convert the patient to an endotracheal tube with positive pressure ventilation during a prolonged resuscitation event.
The physician was disciplined but is currently able to practice medicine in Florida.
By the time the now 21-year-old mother of a six-year old son left the hospital, she weighed only 30 pounds. While she has regained some of her weight, she will never be able to speak more than a few words or stand on her own for more than a few seconds. Her disabilities are permanent. She lives with her mother who takes care of her daily needs such as carrying her to the bathroom and feeding her, with additional assistance provided by her 6-year-old child.
The physician who harmed the patient is a convicted felon, having pleaded guilty in federal court in March 2006 to illegally selling 71,105 pills online. The physician served time in federal prison. Pursuant to an agreement reached with the physician, the Florida Department of Health suspended his medical license for a period of one year that began after his incarceration, after which he was required to be under the direct supervision of a licensed physician for a period of time.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of an outpatient cosmetic surgery procedure in Florida or elsewhere in the United States that may be due to medical negligence, you should consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your cosmetic surgery claim for you and represent you in a cosmetic surgery case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in Florida or in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.