Anesthesia Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Malignant Hyperthermia Death

The family of an 18-year-old Florida girl who died from an anesthesia complication, known as malignant hyperthermia, has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist who conducted the out-patient operation.

According to the anesthesia malpractice lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida by the family of Stephanie Kuleba, plastic surgeon Steven Schuster and anesthesiologist Peter Warheit failed to meet acceptable medical standards when Kuleba suffered a life-threatening reaction to anesthesia during corrective breast surgery in March 2008.

The complaint alleges that the doctors failed to recognize the symptoms of malignant hyperthermia that occurred as a reaction to the anesthesia and failed to administer the proper treatment to save her life. After suffering the anesthesia reaction during outpatient breast augmentation surgery, the high school cheerleader was taken to Delray Medical Center, but died the next day.

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The family’s malpractice lawsuit alleges that Kuleba could have been treated by an intravenous muscle relaxant called Dantrolene sodium, which goes under the brand name Dantrium. The lawsuit claims neither Schuster nor Warheit recognized the symptoms of malignant hyperthermia, and Kuleba was not given Dantrium until she was taken to Delray Medical Center, by which point it was too late to save her life.

Dantrium is the only known treatment for malignant hyperthermia, which can be triggered by gas anesthetics, some drug anesthetics and other drugs. The life-threatening condition involves an uncontrolled increase in skeletal muscle oxidative metabolism, which causes the body to become incapable of supplying oxygen or removing carbon dioxide fast enough. If not treated quickly with Dantrium, the circulatory system collapses and malignant hyperthermia can result in death.

The family alleges that the malignant hyperthermia anesthesia death could have been prevented if recognized medical standards had been followed.

7 Comments

  • NancyOctober 17, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    Looking for an attorney in the Tacoma , Wa. area for a Miligant hyperthermia, I lived, but i'm not going to ever be the same, and i already lived sheltered due to ptsd, but i told the Dr. whom put me out all the right things.. I had never had a major surgery and in the 10 minutes you get,, i don't know how they could of missed my bold statement ....... I can only be put out with, and they gave me [Show More]Looking for an attorney in the Tacoma , Wa. area for a Miligant hyperthermia, I lived, but i'm not going to ever be the same, and i already lived sheltered due to ptsd, but i told the Dr. whom put me out all the right things.. I had never had a major surgery and in the 10 minutes you get,, i don't know how they could of missed my bold statement ....... I can only be put out with, and they gave me other gases, I said i can't even stand behind a car, the exhaust make me ill. I believe because i had ptsd they didn't take my concerns serious.

  • BarbaraOctober 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    My husband died because of malignant hypothermia. I watched my husband under stress as the doctors all left the room, except 1 nurse an myself, to go off to thier next surgery. 5 hours later they call in a specialist but it was a little to late. It's been 5 years and I will never forget, or forgive the doctors.

  • AgelynNovember 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    To : family of Stephanie Kuleba Sorry to hear that. My nephew just passed away last week due to the same synthom of Malignant Hyperthermia. Could you please share more of the information of the whole procedure during the operation & lawsuit? I'm sorry to bring you back to the past. But we really need your help. Thank you very much.

  • MargaretDecember 8, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Armando, it looks like the MH has also severely affected your spelling. I would definitely sue your anesthesiologist

  • ArmandoNovember 13, 2009 at 5:27 am

    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of life to the 18 year old.I also suffered from M.H. I was in the hospital for a broken leg I had 4 surgery's done 1st surgery I had an epidural everything was fine 2ND I had low blood preacher and some fever afterwords 3rd surgery I spent the hole night fighting a high fever and I also had a very low blood preacher all this was going on while I was still in the ho[Show More]I'm sorry to hear about the loss of life to the 18 year old.I also suffered from M.H. I was in the hospital for a broken leg I had 4 surgery's done 1st surgery I had an epidural everything was fine 2ND I had low blood preacher and some fever afterwords 3rd surgery I spent the hole night fighting a high fever and I also had a very low blood preacher all this was going on while I was still in the hospital the next day my mom came to visit me I was shacking with a high fever she asked me what was wrong I told her i don't know but it's been going on all night long.My mom thin started asking the nurses what was going on thy had no idea so they sent a Doctor to check me out he quickly sent me to get checked he thought i had a blood clog thy sent me to the ICU for a day and the semitones went away and thy sent me home after a few days.2weeks later I had an outpatient surgery I told the anesthesiologist the problems I had before.He told me they think it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and they wear going to drip it slower so I went in.When i came out of the recovery room I started getting dressed then all the mussel's to my upper tarsal started hearting relay bad I started yelling and screaming from the pain my mom started yelling at them saying we told you He had trouble last time their wear about 5 anesthesiologist their thy tried different kinds of meds but nun worked till one thought to take a chance and treated me for M.H. it worked the pain started going away.The problem I have with all of this is that the anesthesiologist should have recognized the problem the 3rd time instead I almost died the 4th time and now Im allergic to all kids of things that I wasn't before their should be some kind of testing before it might just take a lawsuit to start having this done I dont know.

  • JANICEOctober 26, 2009 at 4:01 am

    SORRY,I SURVIVED.IHAD TO BEG THE DOCTORS FOR HELP WHEN I REALIZED I WASEXPERIENCING CARDIAC PROBLEMS. THEY IGNORED ME FOR 8 HOURS UNTIL I REACHED MY PCP.WHO DIAGNONOSE RHADOMOLYSIS HIGH MUSCLE BREAKDOWN.THEY ARE TRYING TO THROW MY LAWSUIT OUT ARGUING I DID NOT DIE.I HAVE SO MANY SIDE EFFECTSCAUSE MY CELLS AND MUSCLES WERE BROKEN DOWN ALARMINGLY.RAPID BODY TREMBLING AND FEVER ARE SIGNS OF MH . T[Show More]SORRY,I SURVIVED.IHAD TO BEG THE DOCTORS FOR HELP WHEN I REALIZED I WASEXPERIENCING CARDIAC PROBLEMS. THEY IGNORED ME FOR 8 HOURS UNTIL I REACHED MY PCP.WHO DIAGNONOSE RHADOMOLYSIS HIGH MUSCLE BREAKDOWN.THEY ARE TRYING TO THROW MY LAWSUIT OUT ARGUING I DID NOT DIE.I HAVE SO MANY SIDE EFFECTSCAUSE MY CELLS AND MUSCLES WERE BROKEN DOWN ALARMINGLY.RAPID BODY TREMBLING AND FEVER ARE SIGNS OF MH . THEY SHOULD HAVE OBSERVED. AND CHECKED HER BLOOD. TO PREVENT BLOCKAGE IN HER VEINS FROM MUSCLE DAMQGE..I SCREAMED FOR HELP.. ..

  • Barry L. Friedberg, M.D.September 30, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    This post entirely missed the point. 1. There was dantrolene in the office - 2 bottles instead of the 36 recommended. 2. General anesthesia, a malignant hyperthermia (MH) triggering agent, was given for breast augmentation. General anesthesia is completely unnecessary. There are well-known, well-published suitable alternatives like propofol ketamine and other intravenous sedation techniques [Show More]This post entirely missed the point. 1. There was dantrolene in the office - 2 bottles instead of the 36 recommended. 2. General anesthesia, a malignant hyperthermia (MH) triggering agent, was given for breast augmentation. General anesthesia is completely unnecessary. There are well-known, well-published suitable alternatives like propofol ketamine and other intravenous sedation techniques To give a known MH triggering anesthetic without the recommended antidote on the premises is to show a reckless indifference to human life. Compounding this indifference was the Florida Medical Board clearing these doctors of violating medical standards of practice. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/AP/story/1252834.html This stinks badly enough to smell all the way to California.

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