Patient wins $21M in suit against anesthesiologist, CRNA after brain injury during surgery

Carlos David Castro Rojas was awarded more than $21 million in a suit against an anesthesiologist and certified registered nurse anesthetist for an injury sustained during a procedure at Dallas-based Baylor University Medical Center, local ABC affiliate WFAA reported Oct. 31. 

Mr. Rojas went into surgery for a shin fracture on Oct. 11, 2017, according to the suit. During the surgery, he was put under general anesthesia and suffered a brain injury from lack of oxygen to his brain. 

He has remained in a vegetative state for the past five years, "unable to communicate or interact meaningfully or perform basic human functions," according to the report. 

The lawsuit alleged the CRNA provided anesthesia and Mr. Rojas was not informed that a "more qualified" anesthesiologist was available. According to policies from U.S. Anesthesia Partners, who employed the CRNA, Mr. Rojas should have been informed he had the right to choose between a CRNA and an anesthesiologist.

The suit alleges it was more financially lucrative for Baylor University Medical Center and U.S. Anesthesia Partners to have a CRNA perform the procedure. 

"In order to make more money, [Baylor University Medical Center and U.S. Anesthesia Partners] keep patients in the dark and place patients at greater risk by pushing the CRNA model on patients," the suit said, according to WFAA.

Rojas' attorneys told WFAA that an anesthesiologist supervised the CRNA, along with three other CRNAs, each in different operating rooms, during the procedure. 

Baylor University Medical Center settled with Mr. Rojas' family for an undisclosed amount prior to trial.

U.S. Anesthesia Partners did not immediately respond to WFAA's request for comment.

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