The mother of a 9-year-old who died within three hours after being discharged from a Detroit-area hospital on December 8, 2016 following what was supposed to be a routine, 30-minute tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy has provided notice that she intends to file a Michigan medical malpractice claim against the surgeon who had performed the procedure, alleging that the surgeon should not have discharged the child from the hospital so soon.
Surgery was recommended for the child due to her sleep apnea that caused her to occasionally fall asleep at school and to gasp for air while she was sleeping. On the day of her surgery, she was brought to the operating room at 12:10 p.m. and was expected to leave the operating room by 12:40 p.m. However, her surgery did not end until 2:23 p.m. While it is unclear from the medical records why the surgery lasted so long, the records purportedly indicate that the child was placed under anesthesia twice and had bleeding from her nose. She was reportedly groggy and unresponsive after the surgery.
Despite having difficulty staying awake, drooling, and having blood dripping from her nose, she was discharged from the hospital at 3:05 p.m. During the long drive home, the child was drifting in and out of sleep and was slumping deeper in her seat. The child’s mother and her fiance attempted to have the oxycodone prescription provided by the surgeon filled at two pharmacies but both pharmacies refused to fill the prescription (oxycodone is an opioid that is often abused and pharmacies often do not stock the narcotic medication because they do not want to be targeted by addicts).
The mother and her fiance drove to a local hospital pharmacy with the child in the backseat in an attempt to have the child’s prescription filled but the hospital pharmacy refused to fill the prescription because it had not been written by one of its physicians. When the mother turned around to speak with her daughter who was in the backseat of the car, the child did not respond. The mother then touched her daughter’s chest, and the child fell forward and she was cold to the touch.
The mother and her fiance immediately drove back to the local hospital where the child was placed on a ventilator for nine hours but was found to be brain dead.
An autopsy has been completed but the results are not yet available. Possible causes of death include an undetected irregular heartbeat that caused sudden cardiac arrest, seizure, a bad reaction to the anesthesia, or overactive blood clotting.
Tonsillectomies are performed on about 530,000 children in the United States every year and is the third most common childhood surgery (behind circumcisions and ear tube surgeries). The risk of death following a tonsillectomy is about one-in-fifty-thousand, and is usually associated with underlying medical conditions.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical care (or the lack of medical care) in Detroit or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Detroit or near where you live who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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