Extubating Lawsuit Against Mercy Medical Center

Milad v. Mercy Medical Center, Inc.

AnesthesiologistThis is a wrongful death case filed in Baltimore City alleging that a woman died because her mechanical ventilation was prematurely discontinued by a Mercy Medical Center anesthesiologist.

This lawsuit was filed in plaintiff's attorney in Maryland Health Claims Arbitration on May 4, 2017. It is the 204th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

The facts here are simple. A woman undergoes bilateral mastectomies at Mercy Medical Center. Following the lengthy surgery (10-11 hours), doctor extubates the woman. He oxygen level drops and her heart rate goes to zero. Doctor cannot reintubate her, nor resuscitate her, and she dies that night.

Plaintiff's claim is that the anesthesiologist prematurely extubated the patient and this this tragic death was the direct result.

Additional Comments
  • There are so little facts to work off to analyze this case. But the core issue in this case will be whether the patient was ready for extubation. The decision to discontinue mechanical ventilation always involves weighing the risks of prolonged mechanical ventilation against the possibility of extubation failure. Typically what is done is the doctors will look at the patient's respiratory pattern, cardiovascular response, gas exchange, and comfort of a patient during 30-120 minute spontaneous breathing trial. We do not know enough about the facts to know whether this was warranted in this case or whether it was done.
  • You certainly do not expect a patient getting a mastectomy to die.
  • There is unlikely to be an argument that there is not but/for causation. Based on these facts, there was a direct connection between the extubating of the patient and her death.
  • We do not know the cause of why this woman's breathing did not return. Was it swelling or some other obstruction of her airway? Was it the anesthesia? This will be an important issue in the case.

Defendant's like defense will be that the decision to was within the standard of care and this was just an extremely unlikely outcome that no one could have predicted. The doctor will also argue that while there was some risk, there was no reason to believe at the time that the patient could not be intubated. After all, this defense reasons, the anesthesiologist had every reason to believe he would be able to re-intubate the patient if necessary because he has already intubated her airway, presumably without incident.

Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • Mercy Medical Center
  • An anesthesiologist affiliated with Mercy
  • Mercy Anesthesiology Associates, P.C.
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated Negligence
  • Failure to ventilate patient for several hours (to let her recover from prolonged surgery) before extubating her
  • Failure to reintubate patient
  • Failure to resuscitate patient by other means
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence
  • Carelessness
  • Wrongful death
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