Family of heart surgeon given 'near-fatal dose of opioids' for back surgery pain sues hospital

Mail Online | 12/12/2018 | Natalie Rahhal Deputy Health Editor For
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Prominent Florida heart surgeon Dr J Lancelot Lester was left in a coma by the potent painkiller given to him after a back surgery, his family's lawsuit claims.

Dr Lester, 74, operated on patients for 30 years. Now, he is clinging to life, unable to walk, talk or anything much more than breath on his own.

Surgeons - Problems - Surgery - JFK - Medical

Like many surgeons, he developed excruciating back problems and had his third back surgery at JFK Medical Center - the same hospital where he hoped to soon return to work in May.

Despite being opioid naive, Dr Lester was given Dilaudid, a more powerful painkiller than oxycodone, intravenously.

Minutes - System - Drug - Dr - Lester

Withing minutes, it was clear his system couldn't handle the drug and Dr Lester went into respiratory failure. By the time an overdose reversal drug was administered, his heart was in failure, his brain was damaged and he slipped into a coma, the lawsuit alleges.

Now, his daughters are suing the medical center where their father made his career for at least $15 million that they hope might afford Dr Lester treatment for his devastating brain injuries.

Height - Career - Dr - Lester - Surgeries

At the height of his career, Dr Lester performed as many as 380 surgeries in a single year.

He loved to be outside, active and surrounded by nature - particularly the 19 horses he had collected on his farm outside Okeechobee, Florida. Dr Lester even took up kite-boarding at 60, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Career - Heart - Surgeon - Dr - Lester

But at 74, the career as a high-risk cardiothoracic heart surgeon that Dr Lester had dedicated himself to was in jeopardy over his back pain.

So he sought help from his own institution - where he was once chief of cardio-thoracic surgery - and doctors there performed a third back surgery on Dr Lester on May 9.

Operation - Recovery

The operation went well, but recovery...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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