Life-Saving Surgery Might Have Killed Woman, Lawsuit Claims

A sickle cell anemia patient went to a Broward hospital for a life-saving, emergency surgery, but the operation she received might have lead to her death, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

Ashley Polk, then 19, went to the emergency room on August 19, 2010, for abdominal pain and swelling, said Marie Martin, her mother.

Polk needed her gallbladder removed. Gallbladder disease is common among sickle cell patients.

Dr. Edgar Rodas, who works for Broward Surgical Associates, wound up performing the laparoscopic surgery on August 20, Broward County Civil Court filings indicate. 

The next day, Polk went home. But on August 22, Polk started vomiting and returned to the hospital.

X-rays and diagnostic tests indicated that her hormone ducts and blood vessels were clogged, along with her digestive tract. The hospital's on-call doctor wanted to rush Polk into surgery.

By the time she reached the operating room, however, she had died of septic shock and couldn't be resuscitated.

The lawsuit claims that Rodas botched the surgery and is responsible for Polk's death.

The Pulp is waiting for comment from Rodas and Broward Surgical Associates.

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Victoria Bekiempis