Siblings file med mal suit after death of mother

By Eliza Walker | Oct 28, 2013

Jeffrey A. Mitchell

NEW ORLEANS – Three siblings have filed a medical malpractice suit alleging mis-administration of anesthesia before a surgery at Tulane Hospital.

Neville Kirt, Alvin K. Kirt Jr. and Lamont Kirt, individually and on behalf of their deceased mother, Elaine Kirt, filed suit against Rebecca C. Metzinger M.D., Theodore C. Strickland III M.D., Pauline Taquino CRNA, Gayle Martin CRNA, Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund and Parish Anesthesia Associates Ltd. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Aug. 20.

According to the complaint, on April 8, 2010, Elaine Kirt went to Tulane Hospital for scheduled surgery on her right eye to be performed by Dr. Metzinger.

Prior to the planned surgery, there was a 10-minute period in the anesthesia record where the patient's vitals were unrecorded, and this was allegedly when the patient’s care was turned over to CRNA Taquina. After this period, CRNA Taquina allegedly administered 250 mcg of Alfental because the patient said her hip was hurting.

In a deposition during the medical review panel, CRNA Taquina asserted that “Alfental doesn’t have to be given in a particular manner. The drug was not given in incremental doses by me because the patient was on monitors. I did not know whether or not the patient had received Propofol earlier. It would not be especially important to know that. From 12:40 until 1:00  – a 15 minute period – I did not record any vital signs on the anesthesia graph.”

Ten minutes after the Alfental was administered, the patient became unresponsive. The suit claims that the non-titrated second administration of Alfentanial caused the patient to “code,” and this first code set off a domino effect, compromising the patient so as to place her at risk for multiple codes which she suffered over the next 173 days, until her death on Sept. 29, 2010.

The defendants are accused of failing to provide continuity of care, failure to properly train employees, failure to ensure the CRNAs assigned to Ms. Kirt had the necessary training and skills to be able to intubate her, failing to properly administer drugs, failing to properly document, failing to understand the drugs they administered, failing to intubate, failing to communicate with fellow CRNAs and being otherwise negligent.

The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of damages for their deceased mother's injuries, mental anguish, pain and suffering prior to death, their mother’s wrongful death, loss of consortium, mental anguish, loss of love and affection, loss of services and loss of society.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey A. Mitchell of The Cochran Firm in Metairie.

The case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case no. 2013-07873.

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