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Woman's blood drained into garbage can during surgery, killing her

When her vitals dropped, doctors tried to save her. What they didn't realize was her body was still losing blood.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Clinical ward with patient in coma, unfocused background.

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman in Utah died after her heart surgery went wrong and her blood was drained into a garbage can, NBC News reports.

The news outlet said surgeons failed to close a tube when Donnamay Brockbank, 62, was undergoing surgery to take out a medical device that had been causing an allergic reaction.

The Salt Lake Tribune said the surgery required a cardiopulmonary bypass, which involves drawing blood from the body through a big needle and tube near the neck, through a blood reservoir and re-entering the body through the femur.

Brockbank’s family said she bled to death because her surgeons, Dr. Shreekanth V. Karwande and Dr. David G. Affleck, failed to close a tube, according to NBC News.

The Salt Lake Tribune said the tube to return the blood to Brockbank body was removed, but the tube to drain it wasn’t. The technician removed the blood reservoir from the bypass machine and put it in a medical wastebasket while her heart continued to pump blood into it.  

An anesthesiologist noticed Brockbank’s vitals dropping. NBC News reported doctors started pumping seven more units of blood into Brockbank to save her, but the blood they were reusing to try and stabilize her was draining into the garbage can because they didn’t notice the tube was still open.

Brockbank's family is suing. 

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