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Million-Dollar Lawsuit Claims Surgical Fire Ruined 86-Year-Old Woman's Life

Suit: Prep wasn't allowed to fully dry before electrocautery.

Published: January 11, 2017

BURN VICTIM A surgical fire seriously disfigured Jeanne Holden, 86.

An elderly Oregon woman has filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center in Tigard, Ore., saying she suffered severe burns when her face caught on fire during an electrocautery procedure last September.

Jeanne Holden, 86, also accuses surgeon Andrew Cramer, MD, and anesthesiologist Michael J. Paradis, MD, of negligence, saying they failed to allow adequate time for the chlorhexidine gluconate skin prep that had been applied to her face to dry. The surgery was a left temporal artery biopsy.

Ms. Holden, who was breathing through an oxygen mask during the procedure, says her face, head and neck all caught on fire, ultimately causing, among other things, pain, disfigurement, impaired vision, terror and loss of independence. The suit asks for $1 million in noneconomic damages, based also on a reduced capacity to enjoy life and loss of the ability to read. It also seeks payment for ongoing medical expenses, to be determined.

Elderly woman says surgical fire "took the last 10 to 15 years of her life."

"She's seriously disfigured," her lawyer, Greg Kafoury, tells The Oregonian. "She says she feels that they took the last 10 to 15 years of her life."

Mr, Kafoury told the newspaper that the flames traveled down the throat of Ms. Holden, who was breathing supplemental oxygen through a mask during the Sept. 16, 2016, surgery.

The surgery center, Dr. Cramer and Dr. Paradis did not return calls from Outpatient Surgery.

Jim Burger


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