Utah hospital patient died after surgery as blood drained into garbage can, lawsuit claims

The family of a Utah woman is suing St. Mark's Hospital in Millcreek, Utah, alleging she died after surgery because blood drained from her heart into a garbage can below the operating table, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Donnamay Brockbank underwent heart surgery at St. Mark's Hospital in July 2018. The surgery, which required cardiopulmonary bypass, was to remove a medical device that was causing an allergic reaction, according to the report.

During the surgery, blood exited Ms. Brockbank's body through a needle and tube that a surgeon inserted in a vein near her neck and a cardiopulmonary bypass machine pumped blood into a reservoir that reentered through her femur.

After the surgery was over, the physician allegedly told Ms. Brockbank's family the procedure was successful, her heart was beating on its own and the wound had been closed, according to The Washington Post. Soon thereafter, Ms. Brockbank was in "severe distress," according to the lawsuit.

Over the course of 40 minutes, medical professionals pumped seven units of blood into Ms. Brockbank. However, she bled to death because none of the medical professionals addressed the tube that was piping blood into a garbage can under the operating table, the lawsuit alleges, according to The Washington Post.

The lawsuit claims surgeons removed the tube into Ms. Burbank's femur, but failed to clamp the line from her neck. None of the physicians in the room noticed the disposable reservoir the tube from her neck fed into had been placed in the garbage, according to The Washington Post, which cited the complaint.

Ms. Brockbank's family, who say they have suffered "emotional anguish," are seeking an amount to be determined at trial.

"We want to express our deepest condolences to Donnamay Brockbank's family for their loss," St. Mark's CEO Mark Robinson said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune. "Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on any pending litigation. That said, we continuously seek to learn from every patient situation to improve the quality and safety of the care we provide in our operating rooms and throughout the hospital."

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