9-Year-Old Girl Dies After Getting Her Tonsils Removed In Routine Surgery
A child in Detroit died within hours of having tonsillectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the tonsils.
The mother's child, Sonia Gambrell, said that she was actually nervous to send her daughter in for surgery. They even pushed the surgery off for years but eventually in December, decided to bring the child to the hospital for the operation.
"We went to the appointment I had been running from for 9 years," Gambrell said.
Now, Gambrell wants to sue Detroit Medical Center, which owns Children's Hospital of Michigan, where 9-year-old Anyialah Greer underwent the procedure on Dec. 8 before she suffered from cardiac arrest.
A Common Childhood Procedure
Tonsillectomy is one of the most common childhood procedures with 530,000 operations done per year.
It used to be a common procedure to treat tonsillitis, the infection and inflammation of the tonsils. Today, it is often performed for sleep-disordered breathing although it may still be resorted to when tonsillitis does not respond to other treatments and occurs frequently.
Anyialah was having her tonsils removed to prevent her from snoring. Doctors said that it was medically necessary. The procedure was supposed to take only 40 minutes but it took far longer before the operation was over, two hours.
The child was discharged from the hospital soon after but she was not feeling good when she got home. Her mother said that after being discharged, Anyialah was in and out of sleep.
Prescribed With Painkiller Oxycodone
The doctor prescribed the painkiller oxycodone for Anyialah but Gambrell had difficulty finding a pharmacy that would fill the prescription because of government regulations that monitor and limit narcotic supplies in a bid to prevent and fight opioid abuse.
They eventually went to St. John's Hospital but the pharmacy there would not also give them oxycodone because Anyialah was not a patient at the hospital.
The child eventually died just a few hours after the surgery.
Possible Causes Of Death
Autopsy reports are not yet on hand and would not yet be available for several weeks but the medical report suggests that an obstructed airway, anesthesia complications or undetected heart conditions may have possibly left the child at risk.
Gambrell claimed that Bianca Siegel, the ear, nose, and throat specialist who conducted the surgery, wrongfully discharged her daughter because the child was not in stable condition after the surgery.
The family hired James Harrington IV, of the Fieger Law of Southfield who specializes in medical malpractice, to represent them. The lawyer said that under the federal law, people can't be discharged unless they are in stable condition.
"I don't know how she could be considered stable when she died just hours after discharge," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, every single person who looked at this kid has to answer questions."
Hospital Issues Statement
The Children's Hospital has issued a statement on the untimely passing of Anyialah.
"We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Anyialah. We take the care and service we provide to our patients very seriously and we are here to support the family during this difficult time," the Children's Hospital said.