A $4.2 million settlement in a medical malpractice lawsuit has been reached with the family of a 32-year-old man who went to the emergency room with a sore throat and died at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.
Antonio Marrero died after a doctor performed an unnecessary procedure, according to the family’s attorney.
“The doctor failed to properly evaluate Antonio’s airway for any risks,” Attorney Richard Fried, who represents the Marrero family, said today in a news conference in his downtown Honolulu office.
A tearful Rachel Marrero, Antonio Marrero’s widow, said she hopes improvements have been made at the health center to ensure other families do not go through the same tragedy.
“It’s hard everyday without him,” she said. “I would give anything to have my husband back.”
Antonio Marrero’s sore throat was caused by an abscess in his tonsils, and although a doctor arranged for him to see a ear, nose and throat specialist the night of Jan. 29, 2013, he was unnecessarily sedated to evaluate the abscess.
Fried said there was no anesthesiologist and the amount of the drug used to sedate Marrero was too much.
“His airway was narrowed by his swollen tonsils and he became unable to breathe due to a lack of oxygen, became unconscious and died,” Fried said.
Health officials at the news conference expressed condolences to the family and said significant changes have been made at the health center to prevent any recurrence.
“We strive to do the best we possibly can for everyone,” said Dr. Stephen Bradley, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center chief medical officer. “Any adverse medical event is taken very seriously and we use that to analyze our system in a way of doing things and to therefore afterwards educate both providers and staff as to what happened and what should not happen to prevent any recurrence,” he said.
Bradley declined at the news conference to elaborate on changes made at the health center.