Death At Surgery Center Raises Questions About Emergency Care

In surgery, when something goes wrong, minutes become hours. Minutes are the focus of a lawsuit filed by the family of a 29-year-old Seymour nurse who died in February 2015 after undergoing minor elective sinus surgery at the North Haven Surgery Center. The suit alleges that the center waited as long as 29 minutes to call an ambulance after Katherine O’Donnell’s blood pressure and pulse fell to critical levels on the operating table – and that doctors continued to proceed with surgery, even as their efforts to resuscitate her failed. The case raises questions about how well equipped freestanding surgical centers are to handle emergencies, and what sanctions they face for alleged lapses in care. The lawsuit alleges that the center and Fairfield Anesthesia Associates, LLC, which handled anesthesia in the case, failed to properly respond by stopping the surgery immediately and calling a “Code Blue” emergency when O’Donnell’s blood pressure and oxygen levels plummeted.

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State Suspends Doctor’s License

The state Department of Public Health has suspended the license of a doctor from Old Lyme who has been charged with sexually assaulting seven female patients during medical exams at a clinic in Plover, Wisconsin. After an eight-month investigation by Plover police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Dr. Wilton Calderon, 45, was charged on Dec. 21 with four counts of third-degree sexual assault and six counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Calderon is accused of having unwanted sexual contact with female patients during medical exams at a family medicine clinic in Plover before he left Wisconsin to take a job in New London in January 2015. Plover Police Chief Daniel F. Ault said Thursday that Calderon spent one night in the Portage County Jail in Wisconsin and is now free on a $25,000 bond pending a court appearance in early March. Ault said the investigation began in early 2015 with a tip from a former patient who accused Calderon of sexual assault.

“We kept digging for over six months and numerous patients came forward with similar stories,’’ Ault said.

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Vinal Tech’s LPN Program Faces Closure

The licensed practical nursing program at Vinal Technical High School in Middletown is in danger of closing because too few graduates have been passing the LPN licensing exam. Vinal Tech’s passing rate has been rising since it was 53 percent in 2012, but it remained at only 75 percent May 1 and Oct. 1, 2015, state records show. To keep its approval from the state Board of Examiners for Nursing, the program must have a passing rate of at least 80 percent among students taking the test for the first time after graduation. Due to the 75 percent passing rate, the nursing board voted unanimously Oct.

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