DALLAS — The number of people who have experienced severe, life-threatening medical emergencies while undergoing routine surgical procedures at a North Dallas surgery center is growing, WFAA has learned.
Attorney Bruce Steckler now represents five people who had surgeries at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, located at 12230 Coit Road, between May and August.
Four of these clients include:
- An 18-year-old woman who had her gallbladder removed
- A 39-year-old man who underwent a reverse vasectomy
- A 21-year-old woman who had breast reduction surgery
- An 18-year-old man who had nose surgery after a dirt bike accident
“My clients and their families are completely freaked out,” Steckler said. “You go in for a routine procedure at a surgery center... and in the midst of the surgery, the client goes into respiratory distress, is immediately having to be intubated and rushed to an ICU. The clients -- all young and in good health -- are stunned to find themselves on a vent in an ICU after undergoing an elective procedure.”
Steckler's fifth client, a man in his 50s, suffered a cardiac episode during surgery, Steckler said. The surgery was then halted, and while the client did not end up in the hospital, it took him all day to recover. He was told at that time that he had an underlying heart condition -- “but when he went to follow up, they could not figure out" why the episode occurred, Steckler said.
“All of these people, they feel extremely fortunate because this could have gone so much worse,” Steckler said.
The Dallas Police Department and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating the surgical center, which recently contacted authorities after discovering that an IV bag found on site appeared to be "compromised."
Baylor officials have not yet disclosed what the IV bag was compromised with or if there were multiple bags affected.
Officials said they paused operations at the facility the same day the possibly compromised IV bag was discovered.
In June, Melanie Kaspar died of what was initially thought to be a heart attack at her home, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Kaspar was an anesthesiologist who had worked at the surgery center earlier in the day, the source said. She was not feeling well and gave herself an IV at home that she’d gotten from the surgery center, the source said.
Recently, Dallas County Medical Examiner toxicology test results for Kaspar were completed, and they showed she died from the toxic effects of a drug used to numb an area during surgery or a medical procedure.
Her death had initially been ruled accidental, but the ME has since reopened the case for more investigation.
Steckler said that among his clients' concerns is that the surgery center did not act quickly enough once it became clear there may be an issue with its operations.
“We want to make sure that the hospital had the procedures in place not only just to prevent what happened here, but to make sure that they were reporting this, and if they saw any trends or a number of incidences that they should have timely recognized, that they had a problem and addressed it,” Steckler said. “Because how many is too many? In my opinion, one is too many.”
In a statement to WFAA, the surgical center said it remains closed at this point.
Said a representative with Baylor Scott & White Health: "Surgicare North Dallas contacted law enforcement after discovering that an IV bag appeared to have been compromised. On the same day, the facility elected to pause its operations. The facility remains closed while we focus on assisting investigators and communicating with patients. We have created a dedicated phone line at 214-818-2794. There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our patients."
If you have been affected by the situation at Surgicare North Dallas, please reach out to the WFAA Investigative team here.