Family in legal battle with clinic after man's death - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Family in legal battle with clinic after man's death

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Family in legal battle with clinic after man's death Family in legal battle with clinic after man's death
TRUMBULL, CT (WFSB) -

A father of eight died after surgery and now his family is in a legal battle with the clinic it said is responsible for his death.

Michael Palmer, 53, was a father and a grandfather and died in 2013 after going to an outpatient surgery center called Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC.

“What bothers me the most is that his life was cut really short,” said Palmer's son, Michael Palmer II. “They recommended to have it at the surgical center and he did not want that but that's what the doctors wanted to do.”

His death devastated the family, who chose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgical center, the doctor's anesthesia company, and an orthopedic center that cared for their father.

The lawsuit said Michael Palmer was given lidocaine “even though it was toxic and inappropriate for use in this surgery,” and did not give the right medication to counteract the damaging effects of the lidocaine.

The surgery was performed at a clinic in Trumbull, and the lawsuit said it is owned, in part, by two of the doctors who performed the surgery.

Michael Palmer II said the reason the family is suing is to expose a problem.

They claimed that the surgery center did not have permission to do the surgery based on their own rules, and they did not have inspection protocols.

“I just want to let other families know,” Michael Palmer II said. “Hopefully an incident like this will never ever happen again.”

The family is also seeking financial damages and said they want a jury to choose the amount, but didn't rule out a settlement.

A statement from Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC said, “The Surgery Center of Fairfield County's sympathies are with the family of Mr. Palmer. HIPAA laws prevent us from disclosing any information about patients. Our facility is a licensed and Medicare-accredited surgery center dedicated to providing high-quality healthcare service.”

Eyewitness News also reached out to State Senator Terry Gerratana, who is the co-chair of the Public Health Committee. 

“There is not a lack of oversight. Outpatient clinics are regulated by the Department of Public Health and receive regular inspections (about every four years). They are licensed and regulated by the Department," Gerratana said.

Gerratana also released a statement:

“This is an issue that the General Assembly has considered in the past. Both the individual healthcare provider and the clinic is held accountable. Determining whether a relationship like you describe could be considered a conflict of interest is a question that should be left to an attorney, but for public health purposes, these outpatient clinics and the surgeons making referrals to them are regulated by the Department of Public Health and held to the same high standard that Connecticut holds all its medical institutions to.”

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