Wayne J. Guglielmo, MA

Disclosures

May 16, 2017

In This Article

Attorney Fractures Her Leg, Then Loses Her Voice

A Cowboy State woman and her husband have filed a $22 million malpractice suit against Wyoming Medical Center, in Casper, and other defendants in connection with surgery to repair her fractured shinbone, a story posted on the website of K2 Radio (among other news sites) reports.[3]

Margo Sabec entered the hospital with a fractured upper tibia on October 16, 2014. Before surgery, a doctor from Citadel Anesthesia Consultants, PC, one of the named defendants in the case, allegedly placed a smaller laryngeal mask airway than was indicated for someone of Sabec's weight. Although doctors can inflate undersized masks in order to achieve a better seal, manufacturers caution users to "never overinflate the cuff" in order to adjust the fit. Manufacturers also warn against using the mask in patients with a history of gastric reflux, which Sabec had.

According to the lawsuit, "immediately after the surgery, Plaintiff was unable to speak louder than a whisper, had trouble breathing, aspirated liquids and solids, and had a persistent dry throat."

Before her discharge, Sabec reported these symptoms to hospital nurses, but in her suit, she claims that her anesthesiologist didn't follow up.

Sabec was eventually diagnosed with permanent paralysis of her left vocal cord. As a result of her injury—which limited the use of her voice—her employer, a Casper law firm, terminated her employment as senior counsel.

In October 2016, Sabec filed a claim with the Wyoming Medical Review Panel, which was created 12 years earlier as the result of a voter-approved constitutional amendment. But after Wyoming Medical Center and the other defendants waived their right to a hearing before the panel—which is their prerogative under Review Panel law—Sabec and her husband filed a claim in Natrona County District Court.

On the basis of the plaintiffs' original filing with the Wyoming Medical Review Panel, the biggest portion of the $22 million in damages they've asked for—a combined $12 million—is for the injured plaintiff's lost wages and diminished earning capacity.

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