Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Death Blamed on Liposuction, Anesthesia Complications Results in $20M Judgment

Even the most routine plastic surgeries carry risks for death. This gives every surgeon, nurse, technician and other member of a plastic surgery team the highest responsibilities to protect patients.

By James Lewis, Medical and Surgical Malpractice Attorney

A Pennsylvania (PA) appeals court on November 14, 2010, upheld a $20 million jury award to the parents of a teenager who died when, according to trial evidence, neither the plastic surgeon performing the procedure nor the assisting anesthesia nurse took appropriate actions when the patient experienced complications.

Amy Fledderman, 18, who lived near Philadelphia, died in the offices of plastic surgeon Richard Glunk and while under the care of nurse Edward DeStefano. The fatal operation took place in 2001. It was not scheduled for a hospital because, according to Fledderman’s parents, Glunk was unlicensed at the time and had lost hospital privileges.

During the liposuction, Fledderman suffered a punctured artery and an adverse reaction to anesthetics. The surgeon and nurse did not send the patient for advanced hospital treatment for several hours. This delay led to Fledderman’s death, a trail jury found in 2008. The verdict upheld last month included $15 million in punitive damages.

This sad case reminds me very much of a recent one involving a young Virginia Beach mother whose family received $1.95 judgment against a plastic surgery practice whose staff was found negligent in treating surgical complications.

Both the local tragedy and the one in Pennsylvania highlight two important lessons. First, plastic surgeries as routine as liposuction, breast augmentation and vein ablation (varicose vein treatment) are all surgeries. They carry serious risks and sometimes result in death.

That lesson highlights and reinforces the second: Surgeons, nurses, technicians and all members of the surgical team have every responsibility to protect patients from injuries before, during and after procedures are performed. When they fail to meet this duty of care, they must be held accountable.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA); we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office. Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now. While we do not accept every case, we provide free initial confidential injury case consultations. So call us toll free at (800) 752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Virginia Injury Attorneys Blog and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.

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