UCSD accused of ignoring anesthesiologist's fentanyl abuse

A recent suit was filed against UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, Calif., accusing an anesthesiologist and Gerard Manecke Jr., MD, former chief of anesthesiology, among others, of not giving a patient enough anesthesia and then falsifying official medical records, the Los Angeles Times reported Nov. 25. 

Randy Dalo went into surgery on his neck in January 2017, during which he said he had a dream where he "saw three or four hazy shadows of people looming over him, then a bright light, and when he tried to scream, he could not," according to the Times. The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Dalo actually woke up during the surgery because he was not given enough anesthesia. 

Mr. Dalo's wife Karen, a longtime nurse at the facility, handpicked the surgery team, except for anesthesiologist Bradley Hay, MD. 

The suit also targets anesthesiology nurse Tammy Nodler and the University of California regents. Mr. Dalo contends that Dr. Hay and Ms. Nodler falsified medical records to look as though he had been given enough anesthesia and blames UC San Diego for covering up the scene that followed the surgery. 

After the surgery, Dr. Hays was found in a hospital bathroom unconscious, covered in vomit and surrounded by three syringes that contained sufentanil, a powerful opioid. Dr. Hay had allegedly been stealing fentanyl and sufentanil from the hospital for years. 

The Dalos said UC San Diego officials were evasive and did not fully disclose the situation, and they allege that the hospital knew about the drug abuse issue. 

Dr. Hay's lawyer did not respond to the Los Angeles Times' request for comment. According to the report, lawyers representing the hospital said that UC San Diego's expert said the amount of anesthesia given to Mr. Dalo was "within the standard of care."

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