Spinal anesthetic error could cost Texas hospital millions

Practice Management

A jury has awarded an $8.3 million verdict to the family of a woman who suffered brain damage during hip surgery because of an error with the anesthesia she was administered, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported April 6.

An anesthesiologist with Sundance Anesthesia, contracted to provide services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth, injected tranexamic acid into Anglea Davis' spine instead of a spinal anesthetic, according to the report. The brain damage Ms. Davis suffered as a result of the medication, which is used to control bleeding, left her paralyzed.

The lawsuit alleged that the hospital and contracted physicians and staff were negligent and failed to comply with the hospital's standards of care and administrative standards of care.

The jury found the hospital to be 65 percent responsible and Sundance Anesthesia to be 35 percent responsible, but no rulings have been entered by the court, according to the Star-Telegram.

"We acknowledge Ms. Davis has suffered a significant and devasting injury as the result of preventable human error. We are so sorry for her suffering," Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth said in a statement to Becker's Spine Review. "We believe we had proper safety policies and governance in place, but no policy can prevent human error by people contracted to provide care at the hospital. While we understand the jury’s decision in light of the evidence they had, we continue to explore our legal options at this time."

An attorney for the Davis family told the publication he plans to argue that the hospital should be responsible for 100 percent of the recovery because the jury answered no questions about whether employees of the anesthesia group were negligent.


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