Sacramento Woman Dies In Hospital Due To Surgeon’s Errors, Part 1 of 3

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)


This is a medical malpractice action.

Decedent, Kim Smith (DOB: XX/XX/63; DOD: XX/XX/08), developed pregnancy-related cardiomyopathy in 2003 and was fitted with a AICD (Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). She had five children – 3 minors aged 4, 10 and 13.

On November 8, 2008, decedent had surgery at Memorial Hospital for replacement of the defibrillator (by surgeon, Phillip White). She had infection following this surgery and was readmitted December 20-22, 2008. Discharge diagnosis was left chest cellulitis at site of AICD with a culture positive for pseudomonas aeruginosa. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Decedent was scheduled for pacemaker and lead extraction secondary to the infection at Memorial Hospital by David Hall (surgeon) on January 19, 2009. This is a percutaneous laser lead extraction. Stephen Lee, an interventional radiologist, was the assistant surgeon. Dr. Lee operated the laser lead extractor during the procedure.

Surgery began at 1532, with purulence encountered in the pseudocapsule. The generator was explanted, and around 1655 problems began. There is a handwritten note at 1700 stating there was easy removal of A-lead, but there were problems with the V-lead (attached as an exhibit). Decedent had loss of blood pressure which improved with released traction, but then dropped again. The surgeons apparently attributed the drop in blood pressure to tugging on the lead (by Dr. Lee). The procedure continued producing another sudden drop in blood pressure and which point sternotomy was performed. (See Part 2 of 3.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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