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ARTICLE ID 190340

$________ – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – ANESTHESIOLOGY – MAN FALLS INTO COMA WHILE UNDER PROPOFOL ANESTHESIA – ANOXIC BRAIN DAMAGE.

17th Judicial Circuit Court

This matter arose from medical procedure that left a local man with permanent brain injuries. The matter was resolved by a Broward County jury after the defendants denied negligence.

On December 4, ________, the plaintiff Dale W., 33, underwent a "manipulation under anesthesia" at Atlantic Surgical Center, a Pompano Beach medical facility, under the recommendation of the defendant Dr. Basil M. The procedure involved the use of anesthesia to perform chiropractic maneuvers that pain and resistance ordinarily prevent. Anesthesia for the procedure was administered by Dr. Thomas R., co-defendant in subsequent litigation. The plaintiff’s vital signs diminished during the procedure until he became bradycardic. Dr. R. thereafter administered Propofol, which further compromised the plaintiff’s condition. The procedure was continued nonetheless, including manipulation of the cervical region (which was not required).

Due to the forcible cervical manipulation and poor oxygenation, the plaintiff suffered a cardiac arrest wherein his heartbeat and breathing ceased for five minutes. The plaintiff was finally revived by Pompano Fire Rescue. As a result of the five minutes without oxygen, the plaintiff sustained anoxic brain damage, causing him to slip into a locked-in/vegetative state. He is now cared for by his mother, sister and nurses at their home in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The plaintiff filed suit in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Broward County. The plaintiff accused defendant Drs. Basil M. and Dr. Thomas R. of the Atlanta Surgical Center of negligence. The plaintiffs sought damages including $4 million in past medical bills, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. There was no pre-trial settlement discussion.

At trial, the plaintiffs argued that the MUA procedure used on the plaintiff should not have been performed. Further, they asserted that Dr. Thomas R. breached the standard of care through his failure to monitor the plaintiff’s vital signs, as well as take appropriate action after the patient’s bradycardia was detected and after he stopped breathing. Finally, they asserted that the defendant failed to follow ACLS protocols during the code blue, further exacerbating the brain damage sustained by Mr. W.Following four weeks of trial, the jury deliberated for 11 hours before finding under a greater weight of the evidence standard of the negligence of the doctors. The jury awarded $38.5 million in damages to Dale W. and his family. The jury thereafter returned to the jury room, and returned with an additional determination of negligence by clear and convincing evidence in their care and treatment. No additional damages were awarded based on the latter determination.

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