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Heart surgery patient dies after her blood drained into garbage can during botched procedure: Lawsuit

The family of a late woman recently sued a Utah hospital, alleging she died last year after operating doctors left an open tube from her heart—resulting in her blood draining into a garbage can.

Citing the lawsuit, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Donnamay Brockbank, 63, underwent heart surgery in July 2018 at St. Mark’s Hospital in Millcreek to remove a medical device that was causing an allergic reaction. The surgical procedure reportedly included a cardiopulmonary bypass, which entailed a needle and tube being placed near Brockbank’s neck which re-entered through her femur via a blood reservoir.

After the Brockbank’s heart began beating, the operating doctor reportedly closed the wound and left the technician to shut down the bypass machine and place a blood reservoir into the garbage. While the tube and needle sending blood to Brockbank’s femur were removed, the lawsuit charged that the other tube and needle were left in her body—unclamped—leading her heart to pump blood through the discarded reservoir.

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The family’s attorney told the Tribune that Brockbank’s blood pressure dropped, prompting doctors to conduct transfusions which added seven pints of blood to Brockbank’s body in the span of 40 minutes. Meanwhile, medical staff remained unaware that all the patient’s blood was draining into the garbage, according to the lawsuit.

Brockbank was reportedly briefly stabilized but her heart began to give out as blood traveled through the unclamped tube and needle. The family attorney said the operating doctor, Shreekanth V. Karwande, ultimately reopened her chest and tried to manually revive her manually but was unsuccessful.

Lawyers for the family said they received most of the information regarding Brockbank’s death through conversations with hospital staff as medical records “fell well below any known standard of care in the United States of America.” Rand Nolen noted that the records failed to disclose where the assistant surgeon was during the initial surgery.

St. Mark’s Hospital’s CEO, Mark Robinson, offered condolences to Brockbank’s family in a statement issued to the Tribune but declined to comment on her death due to the pending litigation.

In addition to the hospital, the lawsuit named Karwande, MountainStar Cardiovascular Surgery, SpecialtyCare Cardiovascular Resources, and the anesthesiologist for Brockbank’s surgery as defendants.

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[Featured image: Donnamay Brockbank/GoFundMe]