A $4.2 million settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit has been reached with the family of a 32-year-old man who went to the emergency room with a sore throat and died at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.
The man went to the ER in January 2013 where a doctor determined he had an abscess in his tonsils and arranged for the patient to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Then, the ER doctor decided to do a further evaluation under sedation, but the man lost consciousness and died.
According to the lawsuit, the doctor not only performed an unnecessary procedure, but failed to properly evaluate the patient’s airway for any risks prior to the sedation. “His airway was narrowed by his swollen tonsils and he became unable to breathe due to a lack of oxygen, became unconscious and died,” said the family attorney. The lawsuit also claimed that there was no anesthesiologist present and the amount of sedation was too much.
The man’s widow said she hopes improvements have been made at the health center to ensure other families do not go through the same tragedy.
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