Patient Says Doctors Drained All Her Blood

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – Doctors hooked up a heart patient to a bypass pump that sucked out her blood rather than replace it, putting her in a coma for days, she claims in court.
     Mary Ellen McKegney sued Palomar Medical Center, doctors Jeffrey M. Rosenberg, Surin Mitruka and Michael Nussbaum, and Peter R. Bryant, C.C.P. (Certified Cardiovascular Perfusionist), on July 17 in Superior Court.
     McKegney went to the hospital on July 21, 2014 for aortic root replacement and aortic valve replacement surgery.
     Aortic root replacement is a complex surgery to treat swelling at the root of the aorta, commonly caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. The removed section is replaced with a tube.
     The aortic valve, at the root of the aorta, regulates blood flow from the left ventricle, or lower left chamber. Some aortic root replacement surgeries can leave the valve intact, while others require its removal. If removed, it is typically replaced with a mechanical valve.
     McKegney claims that her heart stopped during the surgery because the surgeons set the heart pump to remove her blood rather than put it back in her body. Her body was left in a state of “pulseless electrical activity,” according to the complaint.
     “After several minutes of having all the blood drained from her body, it was discovered that a stopcock on the bypass pump was turned in the wrong direction, and rather than replacing the patient’s blood, it was extracted from her body,” the complaint states.
     The doctors resuscitated her by correcting the direction, but in the process they let so much air enter her bloodstream that she “remained on a ventilator and in a coma for days,” according to the complaint.
     When she finally woke up, she had seizures and an abnormal hearth rhythm so irregular she had to be put on medication to correct it, McKegney says in the complaint.
     She says she has fallen and broken both hips because the medications, seizures and coma made her lose her balance.
     Due to the doctors’ mistakes, she says, she “is facing a long and difficult rehabilitation, and probable permanent disability,” as well as emotional distress and the knowledge that she may never be able to go back to work.
     The defendants were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
     McKegney seeks medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity and damages for medical malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
     She is represented by Kathryn Cooney, of Vista, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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