On November 11, 2019, Aventura native Lisa Cooperman underwent multiple plastic surgery procedures at a renowned South Florida outpatient surgical center, Delray Beach Plastic Surgery. The surgery was a little over eight hours long and was handled by Dr. John Westine for the facial procedures and Dr. Andrew Rosenthal for a breast reduction surgery.
Although the surgeries initially went well, 59-year-old Ms. Cooperman ultimately died in recovery.
Now, Gary M. Cohen, a named partner of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen (GRYC), is representing the family in a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Westine; Dr. Westine’s surgical center; and the registered nurse, Vanessa Wilson, who watched over Ms. Cooperman in recovery.
According to the lawsuit brought on by the victim’s family, Ms. Cooperman’s death was allegedly a result of a series of errors in the overnight suite under the watch of Registered Nurse Vanessa Wilson.
The lawsuit reports that Ms. Wilson failed to provide proper care for Ms. Cooperman during recovery, and then failed to provide proper emergency care when she was dying.
The series of errors from Ms. Cooperman’s experience are as follows:
- Cooperman received a series of extensive plastic surgery procedures that should have been separated into different days
- The maximum amount of time for a surgery at an outpatient center is 8 hours, and this surgery lasted for 8 hours and 15 minutes
- With a pediatrics background, the overnight care nurse was not qualified to handle post-operative recovery for a patient who just underwent 8 hours of surgery
- The nurse allegedly administered additional narcotics for pain that were excluded by the doctors, which caused her oxygen levels to drop
- The nurse failed to perform adequate chest compressions to resuscitate the patient and then showed zero urgency when it came to calling 9-1-1
Once paramedics arrived on scene, which was a short 5 minutes after being dispatched, the patient was transferred to the hospital.
By the time Ms. Cooperman was at Bethesda Hospital East, a nearby hospital where she was transported, she was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a type of brain dysfunction that occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen or blood flow for a period of time. She was removed from life support five days after her surgery.
“Ms. Cooperman’s death was easily preventable and shines a light on the dangers that exist in post-operative care,” said Gary Cohen. “While most plastic surgery deaths happen on the table, we cannot dismiss the fact that errors do happen in recovery. In this particular case, we had a nurse who was unqualified to take care of Ms. Cooperman, then failed to act in a proficient and professional manner.”
“We encourage all patients who are undergoing any surgery to do their due diligence,” he added. “Just because you are going to a well-known doctor does not mean you are safe. Patients must not be afraid to question doctors and medical personnel in pre-surgical appointments.”
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