Suit: Anesthetic overdose at St. Joseph’s killed woman

WARREN — A woman was given too much anesthesia during an endoscopy procedure at a local hospital, killing her, states a lawsuit filed by her family in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Artie M. Williamson, 74, of Warren, died March 17, 2018, at St. Joseph Warren Hospital, days after a March 11, 2018, procedure went wrong. Williamson suffered cardiorespiratory arrest during the procedure, leaving her brain without oxygen. She was resuscitated, but suffered brain damage, the suit states.

The suit, filed by her daughter, Lucille Williamson of Warren, names Mercy Heath as the defendant, as well as 11 others, including doctors and anesthesiologists.

Jonathan Fauvie, spokesman for Mercy Health, said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

When Williamson was admitted to the hospital on March 10, 2018, she was suffering from weakness and fatigue. An upper endoscopy was scheduled for the next day because of concerns she was suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding, the suit states.

Included in the suit is an affidavit signed by Dr. Stephen Small, an anesthesiologist in Chicago, attesting to some of the claims alleged in the suit.

Small has “reviewed the available medical records and opines that defendants’ breaches of the standard of care were a proximate cause of Artie Williamson’s injury and death,” the suit states.

During the procedure, Williamson was given 80 mg of propofol and three minutes later, 50 mg more, the suit states. It is unclear what a normal dose is for a woman of Williamson’s age and size.

A message was left with Small seeking comment. Fauvie did not answer the question.

The suit claims the medical personnel gave Williamson an overdose of the anesthesia, didn’t ensure she was stable enough for the procedure, did not obtain a complete medical history for her before the procedure and did not properly and timely respond to her declining condition “after she was overdosed with propofol.”

Side effects of propofol do include respiratory and cardiac depression. It is commonly used in intensive care units for people who have been intubated, according to online medical journals.

The drug was found in pop star Michael Jackson’s system after his death, administered by his doctor to help him sleep, causing acute propofol intoxication, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner.

The wrongful death suit seeks a monetary judgment of more than $25,000.

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