Routine procedure leads to fire causing serious burns on 10-year-old girl’s face.
Lloyd Bell of Bell Law Firm confirms the filing of a medical negligence and liability lawsuit in Cobb County against MAK Anesthesia and other defendants.
During a routine outpatient procedure to remove a tiny benign lesion from the eyelid of 10-year-old, anesthesiologist Dr. Sheel Todd failed to reduce and clear the oxygen-rich air in the surgical field. This failure caused a fire to break out over her face when the surgeon turned on an electric cautery. As a result, she suffered serious burns and underwent skin-graft surgery. She also received and continues to receive therapy for PTSD and expects to have additional surgeries.
The lawsuit states that the young girl had received a squamous papilloma diagnosis, a benign neoplasm on her eyelid. As a common condition with a high success rate with removal surgery, the girl’s doctor recommended the procedure to remove the lesion.
In September 2019, the young girl underwent the routine procedure to remove the lesion. Because of her age and the location of the lesion near her eye, the procedure took place in the main operating room as opposed to a doctor’s office. During the procedure, Dr. Todd administered gas and propofol intravenously to put her asleep. The surgeon elevated the lesion and used medical scissors to excise the lesion in its entirety. The suit states that this is the precise moment when a routine procedure became eventful, and tragic.
After observing some brisk bleeding, the surgeon used a handheld cautery to cauterize the wound. A spark from the cautery ignited a fire, fueled by an O2 leak around the mask that they did not detect. Before it was put out, the fire extensively burned the girl’s face.
In the aftermath of the surgery, the surgeon and Dr. Todd apologized to the girl’s parents about “what happened with her.” The suit states that the two doctors attempted to downplay the girl’s burns, saying that they weren’t first-degree burns and that there was no need to take her to an emergency room.
The girl was ultimately admitted to WellStar Cobb Hospital with seven significant second-degree burns on multiple sites of her head, face and neck, covering surface areas as large as 8×5 centimeters. There, a doctor informed the girl’s parents her burns were much worse than the surgeon and Dr. Todd had indicated. The WellStar doctor performed a successful graft surgery to her head, but because of the fire, she still suffers from large, visible facial burns and skin graft scarring.
It is the anesthesiologist’s role in monitoring and control of oxygen-concentration that plays a crucial role in preventing operating room fires. According to the official complaint, Dr. Todd not only acted negligently, but also attempted to alter his oxygen records to dissuade blame for the fire.
Today, more than one year later, the family has filed a lawsuit to hold accountable those who permanently burned and maimed a young girl’s face through gross medical negligence.
“No child should ever have their life altered so fundamentally by the negligence of a doctor,” says Lloyd Bell. “For this young girl, the scars of medical negligence will be worn for a lifetime. To which, we must hold those responsible accountable, to help make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
About Bell Law Firm
Bell Law Firm is Georgia’s preeminent firm for victims of medical malpractice. Founded in 1999 by Lloyd Bell, the firm has recovered more than $100 million for patients and families of people injured or killed due to medical negligence. Bell has more than 25 years of experience in federal and state courts, and he has represented clients in more than 80 jury trials and hundreds of successful settlements. Specializing in litigating misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and other types of malpractice, Bell Law firm differentiates itself with deep legal expertise, a mastery of technology in the courtroom and a compelling manner of storytelling. In 2018, Daily Report, the leading source of legal news in Atlanta, named Bell Law Firm as Personal Injury Litigation Team of the Year.