Spine patient sues UC San Diego, alleges he woke up during surgery


A man who had spine surgery in 2017 is suing University of California San Diego alleging he woke up during the four-hour procedure, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Jan. 17.  

Randy Dalo had cervical spine surgery in January 2017 at Hillcrest, Calif.-based UCSD Medical Center. While the procedure went well, Mr. Dalo told his wife, Karen, he believed he woke up during the procedure and had recurring nightmares about the alleged incident. 

Months after the surgery Ms. Dalo, who worked at the hospital, learned her husband's anesthesiologist, Bradley Hay, had his license suspended and later surrendered. Mr. Hay had been found after the surgery unconscious and surrounded by empty syringes of sufentanil, an opioid.

Mr. Dalo is suing Mr. Hay and a nurse on his surgical team in addition to UC San Diego. His lawsuit alleges that the former head of anesthesia, a nurse anesthetist and UCSD covered up Mr. Hay's drug addiction, falsified records and lied about what happened.

Lawyers for Mr. Hay disputed the allegations, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. An attorney for UCSD told the newspaper that monitoring devices used during Mr. Dalo's surgery show he was unconscious for the whole surgery.

The case went to trial Jan. 17. A spokesperson for UC San Diego Health confirmed to Becker's Mr. Hay was under investigation and ultimately fired for drug diversion in 2017 and surrendered his medical license after it was suspended. 

While UC San Diego didn't comment on the specifics of the trial, a statement said that the system has protocols in place to protect patient and employee safety, and that "safeguards and controls include extensive programs to monitor and protect clinician health and well-being and comprehensive programs to audit and track medication management and waste."

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