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$4.7M Broward County Medical Malpractice Verdict Awarded to Woman Who Suffered Anesthesia Complications During Surgery

A Florida jury has awarded a $4.7M Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice verdict to Susan Kalitan for injuries she sustained while undergoing surgery to fix her carpal tunnel in 2007. Kalitan suffered an anesthesia-related complication during the procedure, which took place at Broward General Medical Center. Her legal team contends that the instruments that were used on her while she was under general anesthesia perforated her esophagus. A student nurse was working on the anesthesia team at the time. According to the plaintiff's Broward County anesthesia malpractice case, Kalitan was “discharged from the hospital inappropriately” after undergoing surgery. She began experiencing health complications when whatever she swallowed ended up inside her chest cavity. She then had to undergo emergency medical surgery and stayed in intensive care for weeks. For months after that, Kalitan was unable to properly swallow and had to use a feeding tube. She says that she still has some difficulty swallowing and she has to be cautious about what she eats. Kalitan also reports continuing to have “a lot of pain and numbness” in her upper right side. According to WSVN-TV, most of the award will go toward her medical expenses and serve as compensation for her income loss. Meantime, Broward General Medical Center says it plans to appeal the jury’s decision. They say that although Kalitan suffered an anesthesia complication, this does not mean that her health care providers were medically negligent or that there was an issue over the standard of care that she received. Although there is risk involved whenever anesthesia is involved, it is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist and others on the team to carefully monitor the patient and prevent anesthesia reactions or other related complications from occurring. Depending on the type of anesthesia used on the patient—regional, local, or general—different complications may occur, such as: • Systemic toxicity • Allergic reaction • Nerve damage • Brain injury • Lung problems • Heart problems • Hematoma • Infection • Swelling • Aspiration • Anesthesia awareness • Muscle spasms in the voice box • Hypertension • Lip and teeth damage • Larynx injury • Stroke • Heart attack Woman awarded $4.7 Million in malpractice, WSVN.com, June 18, 2011 Hospital to Pay $4.7M for Botching Anesthesia, June 17, 2011 Anesthesia - Risks and Complications, WebMD Medical Malpractice, Nolo More Blog Posts: Number of Hospital Mistakes Could Be 10 Times Greater Than Originally Thought, Says New Study, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, April 27, 2011 Florida Judge Who Intends to File West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Surgeons and Radiologist Says Sponge was Left Inside His Body, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, September 29, 2010 Woman Awarded $36 Million Palm Beach County Medical Malpractice Verdict for Botched Medical Procedure, Florida Injury Attorney Blog, May 19, 2010

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