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Family reaches $4.2 million settlement with Waianae Coast health center

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    Rachel Marrero, right, speaks at a news conference in Honolulu today as her attorney Richard Fried, center, and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Bradley look on. The health center is settling her malpractice lawsuit for $4.2 million after her husband went to the emergency room with a sore throat and ended up dead.

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.

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  • FYI. Answering the question as to who pays this settlement, I received this answer from an authoritative position, “Federally qualified health centers are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act for malpractice. Bottom-line, the taxpayers. It is interesting because Waianae cannot even be sued. The claim has to go through the US Attorney.”

    • Isn’t the Waianae Coast clinic a teaching hospital for the UH Med school? Was the Dr who made a medical mistake on Mr Marrero that killed him a medical resident or student that was not properly supervised? It sounds like there was a failure on multiple levels; the first mistake was the unnecessary sedation however that in itself did not kill Mr Marrero rather the failure to properly react after the sedative closed down his airways. At that point, like watching ER, they could have intubated Mr Morrero to open his airway after it was constricted down by the sedatives. Going to assume the $4.2 million is hush money so the public will never know the truth behind the name of the Dr who made the mistake, what his/her qualifications where and what violations of protocol, and there must have been clear violations, that resulted in this tragedy.

      Also why is it that an Oahu Dentist who killed a young child due to improperly giving the child a sedative while trying to fill work on cavities in the child is being tried for manslaughter while this Dr who improperly used a sedative to kill Mr Morrero is not up for similar criminal charges AND Hawaii taxpayers have to pay for the settlement that does not publicly shed light on exactly what happened?

      • You raise a lot of unfounded allegations. Is this your style or because you attended the Nei’s failing educational system, no clue how to do research? I’m guessing the latter. Sad.

        • You are right I don’t know for sure but if Waianae center is going to settle for over $4 MILLION, that means the real facts of the case will NOT be made public. However I pointed out some FACTS that you cannot dispute.
          (1) Waianae center is Hawaii taxpayer supported
          (2) UH has a medical students and resident program at Waianae center
          Mr Marrero should have never died for the given symptoms he presented at Waianae center. His abssess was not an immediate life threatening condition
          (3) Multiple errors have been identified in Mr Marrero’s treatment
          A dentist who killed a young child in a similar error of misusing anesthesia has been charged for manslaughter
          (4) Greater number of medical mistakes occur for Dr’s who are inexperienced and just beginning their medical training. Tripler is an example of that
          These are facts not in dispute and just used the most logical or simplest explanation (Occam’s razor) given absence of a trail and the defense presenting its case and the Waianae center defending their medical staff. What is sad is a medical clinic that is Hawaii taxpayer sponsored has made a serious medical eror resulting in death and no one will be held accountable other than Hawaii taxpayers paying millions to settle the case.

  • The most important info is missing from this article – WHO is the doctor responsible for this death? It sounds like a rehash of the dentist incidents when sedation drugs were administered without properly trained people present. Like Lilly Geyer, this doctor should be prosecuted for negligent homicide.

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