Girl Dies After Routine Tonsillectomy
Mar. 23, 1995
NEW YORK (AP) _ A 4-year-old girl recovering at home from a routine tonsillectomy bled to death in her mother's arms four days after the surgery, the medical examiner's office said Thursday.
Desiree Wade underwent surgery at St. Luke's Hospital on March 18, and died in her Harlem bedroom early Tuesday, the Daily News reported.
The doctor who performed the tonsillectomy, Dr. Daniel Kurloff, sent the little girl home hours after the surgery, the paper said.
Desiree's mother, Beverly Wade, told the paper the girl ran a high fever Saturday and was brought to a medical center, where a doctor prescribed Tylenol and an antibiotic.
The girl was sick through the weekend, and on Tuesday morning, she started coughing, gagging and spewing blood, Wade told the News. Attempts to revive the little girl at Harlem Hospital were unsuccessful.
An autopsy Wednesday put the cause of death as hemorrhaging following a tonsillectomy, said spokeswoman Ellen Borakove of the city medical examiner's office.
The state Health Department is sending investigators Friday to review the child's medical records at St. Luke's, said department spokeswoman Lois Uttley.
Uttley said tonsillectomy deaths are rare, but not unheard of.
While the operation was common in past decades, ``fewer tonsillectomies are being done because the risks outweigh the benefits in general,'' she said.
Uttley said coughing or vomiting can ``rip open the scabs'' after surgery and cause heavy bleeding.
``This area of the body is very rich in blood vessels,'' she said.
Kurloff, who has no listed telephone number, could not be reached for comment. St. Luke's spokeswoman Barbara Quinn said he is not on staff there, and she did not know how to reach Kurloff.
The hospital started its own investigation of the death shortly after getting word that the little girl had died, Quinn said.