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How Did a Routine Endoscopy Result in Brain Damage?

Patient's family sues over severe perioperative complications.

Published: May 8, 2013

Stomach pains brought 19-year-old Raina Ferrara to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., for an exploratory endoscopy. But complications marred the Jan.11 outpatient procedure, according to published reports, leaving her severely brain damaged and unable to communicate in a long-term care facility.

Her parents, Giulio and Iris Ferrara, filed suit against the hospital and 2 attending physicians last week for what they allege was negligent care. Flawed anesthesia administration, a failure to monitor vital signs, an overly insufflated abdomen and premature extubation led to the cardiac and respiratory arrest that has put Ms. Ferrara into a "vegetative state," the lawsuit argues.

The family's complaint has led the state health department to open an investigation of the incident. A Phelps Memorial representative said patient confidentiality prevented her from commenting on the pending litigation. Attorneys for the family did not respond to requests for further information.

David Bernard

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