A federal lawsuit was filed on October 4, 2021 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging: “This is a medication error healthcare liability claim for money damages, arising from Defendant’s employees’ negligence in providing a surgeon with formalin in a syringe to inject into Plaintiff’s right hand instead of a syringe filled with a local anesthetic of 20 ml of 1% Lidocaine plain with Epinephrine, 0.25% Marcaine plain mixed in a 1:1 mixture the surgeon believed he was injecting. The negligence resulted in formalin being injected into Plaintiff’s dominant right hand soft tissue causing a chemical burn resulting in severe and permanently painful, impairing and disfiguring injury to Plaintiff’s dominant right hand. Plaintiff has undergone four (4) surgeries to repair the damage without regaining the full use or range of motion of her dominant right hand.”
The lawsuit alleges:
“On or about January 9, 2020, HCA [HCA Healthcare, Inc., doing business as St. David’s Healthcare, South Austin Hospital and South Austin Surgery Center, LTD] admitted Plaintiff into its surgery center for the purpose of surgeon Jeffrey T. Jobe, M.D., anesthesiologist Katherine Kohls, M.D., L. Edmond, C.R.N.A., S. Thompson, operating room circulating R.N., and M. Mayfield certified surgical technologist/scrub technician performing a right hand first metacarpalphalangeal (MCP) arthrodesis (fusion) and neuroma excision on Plaintiff’s right hand.”
“At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s surgery, Dr. Jobe copiously irrigated the incision with an irrigant (normal saline used per the Intraoperative Record). Dr. Jobe was then given a syringe by M. Mayfield (certified surgical technologist/scrub tech) of what Dr. Jobe believed to be a syringe containing a local anesthetic of 20 ml of 1% Lidocaine plain with Epinephrine, 0.25% Marcaine plain mixed in a 1:1 mixture. Instead, Dr. Jobe was negligently given a syringe of Formalin.”
“The syringe of Formalin was prepared by either S. Thompson, R.N. (operating room circulating nurse) or M. Mayfield (certified surgical technologist/scrub tech). Formalin is a colorless solution of formaldehyde in water. It is used as a preservative for biological specimens. Formalin should never be placed in the sterile field on the back table in the operating room.”
“The injection of Formalin into Ms. Arguello’s right hand soft tissue caused a chemical burn to Ms. Arguello’s right hand. When Ms. Arguello came out of anesthesia in the recovery room she was complaining of significant pain. Anesthesia provided a nerve block for the uncontrolled pain. The record indicates it was discovered that a specimen cup had been placed on the back table of the surgical field mislabeled and was Formalin.”
“When the Formalin was injected into Plaintiff’s dominant right hand it caused instant cell death in her nerves, tissue, and tendons. Poison control was immediately contacted. Dr. Jobe ordered Plaintiff to be transferred to a hospital for emergency care. By the time Plaintiff reached the emergency room, the tissue was already necrotic, and she was in agony. Sadly, this was only the beginning of a long, painful nightmare Plaintiff is still living today. Plaintiff has endured four (4) additional surgeries because of the predictable and preventable medication error to save her hand, reconstruct the tissue, and hopefully regain some range of motion and use in her right hand. Despite all these efforts, her hand is still permanently deformed, she lacks feeling in her thumb and index finger, and she has permanent loss of strength and mobility in her dominant right hand … HCA’s negligence was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries and damages.”
Source Arguello v. HCA Healthcare, Inc., Case 1:21-cv-00889-LY,
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