Mar 22, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter | The American Association For Justice Archive

Mar 22, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter

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Excessive administration of antiarrhythmic

photo of patient being anesthetized

The plaintiff alleged that an excessive dose of the antiarrhythmic Amiodarone during aortic valve surgery caused the patient’s heart to stop pumping adequate blood, leading to anoxic brain damage and partial paralysis. The jury awarded about $12.2 million. Friedenberg v. Peacehealth.

Lee Lyman, 51, underwent successful aortic valve surgery at Sacred Heart Riverbend Medical Center. Anesthesia was provided by Albert Cho of Northwest Anesthesia Physicians, P.C. While still in the operating room, Lyman began to experience ventricular fibrillation. He was administered electrical shock and prescribed medications, including 150 milligrams of the antiarrhythmic Amiodarone, to be administered over a 30-minute period.

Instead of administering the prescribed dose, Cho administered 2700 milligrams of Amiodarone, which came from a combination of three separate 900-mg bottles. After Lyman received the excessive dose, his heart stopped pumping adequate blood. This led to anoxic brain damage and partial paralysis. He will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life. Lyman had been a millwright earning about $21 per hour.

Lyman, through a representative, sued the corporation that owned the hospital, Cho, and Northwest Anesthesia, alleging negligent administration of an excessive dose of Amiodarone. The plaintiff also charged that the hospital failed to train its anesthesiologists on proper use of its medication delivery system, failed to warn practitioners that the amiodarone was supplied in multi-dose containers, and negligently supplied such bottles. Additionally, suit claimed that Northwest Anesthesia negligently assigned Cho to Lyman’s surgery and failed to follow safety procedures and that Cho failed to follow the surgeon’s orders or read the drug’s label before administering it.

The jury awarded about $12.2 million, apportioning liability at 60 percent to the hospital owner, 25 percent to Cho, and 15 percent to Northwest Anesthesia.

Citation: Friedenberg v. Peacehealth, No. 161413229 (Or. Cir. Ct. Lane Cnty. Sept. 29, 2015).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Don Corson, Derek Johnson, and Lara Johnson; and Jet Harris, all of Eugene, Ore.