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Verdict Awards $1.5 Million In Medical Malpractice Case

Aug 8, 2003 | AP

A Kanawha County jury Friday awarded the family of a star softball player who died during routine shoulder surgery in 2001 more than $1.5 million in damages in a medical malpractice case.

Following a two-week trial, the jury granted Heather Allen's family the damage award against Dr. Phillip Surface, team doctor for West Virginia State College softball team and the surgeon who was set to operate on Allen.

Surface had scheduled an arthroscopic surgery to remove a cyst from Allen's shoulder on Aug. 14, 2001. Just minutes after Allen was prepared for surgery, Surface injected her with a drug related to adrenaline.

In their lawsuit, Debbie Hess and William Allen alleged that the injection caused their daughter's heart to race, ultimately causing her death.

They sued Surface, Thomas Memorial Hospital and Dr. Daniel Russell, Allen's anesthesiologist. Thomas officials settled the claims against them outside of court, and Russell was dismissed from the case by Kanawha County Circuit Judge James Stucky.

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