Anyialah Greer, a nine-year-old girl from Detroit, died hours after having a tonsillectomy, which is a routinary surgery to remove the tonsils. Her mother, Sonia Gambrell, is planning to sue the Detroit Medical Center, which owns Children’s Hospital of Michigan for malpractice.

The tonsillectomy tends to be a simple medical procedure conducted in kids that lasts about 40 minutes. However, it was not so simple for Anyialah, in her case, it lasted over two hours. Though she was not stable and allegedly not feeling well, she was soon discharged from the Hospital and died a few hours later.

Anyialah Greer, a nine-year-old girl from Detroit, died hours after having a tonsillectomy. Photo credit: Family handout / Fox News
Anyialah Greer, a nine-year-old girl from Detroit, died hours after having a tonsillectomy. Photo credit: Family handout / Fox News

“Under federal law, you can’t discharge people unless they’re in stable condition. “I don’t know how she could be considered stable when she died just hours after discharge,” said James Harrington IV, of the Fieger Law of Southfield, the lawyer hired by Anyialah’s mother.

Tonsils removal is a common childhood procedure

In the United States, about 530,000 tonsillectomy procedures are made every year in children. It is a simple and safe routine procedure that last 40 minutes. It is done to treat tonsillitis, which refers to the inflammation and infection of the tonsils. As well, it is used for sleep disordered breathing when other treatments don’t help it.  It is the third most common childhood procedure next to circumcision and ear tubes, according to Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, distinguished professor and chairman of otolaryngology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Recovery from a tonsillectomy usually last 10 to 14 days.

However, it may have complications as the ones that Anyialah had. The nine-year-old girl from Detroit has the surgery on December 8th to prevent her from snoring. According to the doctors, it was medically necessary, but her mother, Sonia Gambrell, 29, has always been nervous to send her daughter to the surgery room. She pushed the surgery off for many years until she decided that Anyialah was having it last month. Gambrell said that she had been running the appointment for nine years.

Anyialah was in pain

But the procedure lasted about two hours, which was far more than it was expected, the girl was soon discharged from the hospital and sent back home. But she said to her mother she wasn’t feeling well, and she wasn’t able to sleep normally.

To calm the pain, the doctors prescribed her the painkiller oxycodone. But her mother had trouble finding it at pharmacies because of governmental regulations that limit narcotic supplies, with the aim of preventing opioid addiction. Facing this problem, Gambrell took her daughter to the St. John’s Hospital, but its pharmacy there wasn’t able to deliver oxycodone for Anyialah since she wasn’t a patient at the St. John’s Hospital. The girl couldn’t manage the pain, and she died within hours.

Was Anyialah wrongfully discharged from the Hospital?

The autopsy report is not available yet. However, experts suggest she died from an obstructed airway, anesthesia complications or an undetected heart condition. The final autopsy reports will be released in several weeks. Tonsillectomy can lead to several complications however doctors are not used to alerting patients or their relatives about the possible complications since it is a rather safe and quick procedure.

Gambrell is now setting everything up to sue The Children’s Hospital for malpractice. She says that Bianca Siegel – an ear, nose, and throat specialist who performed the surgery – wrongfully discharged Anyialah because her daughter was not in a stable condition to leave the hospital. As well, if she had an unknown condition, the doctors should’ve realized before conducting the surgery. Furthermore, according to the federal law, a patient can’t be discharged unless they are in a stable condition.

“We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Anyialah. We take the care and service we provide to our patients very seriously and we are here to support the family during this difficult time,” stated the Children’s Hospital through a statement.

Sonia and her family are preparing to take the case to Courts. She hired James Harrington IV, of the Fieger Law of Southfield who specializes in medical malpractice, to represent them. Specifically, they are suing the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) – which owns Children’s Hospital of Troy.

“What was the anesthesiologist doing? What happened in the OR? What did the nurses know? As far as I’m concerned, every single person who looked at this kid has to answer questions. I am furious about this,” said the attorney.

Anyialah’s mother said to the media that she wish she had kissed her child before the surgery. She didn’t because she trusted the doctors when they said her daughter was going to be alright. She also said that her daughter passing away feels like a dream to her. She doesn’t understand how something that doctors use to do every single day could lead to her daughter’s death. She said that her daughter was really helpful and she had a joyful spirit. She also said that Anyialah was healthy all her life.

Source: Tech Times