Former Groton woman gets $10.5 million medical malpractice judgment

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by Judy Benson
The Day

May 13, 2011

NEW LONDON — A jury on Thursday awarded $10.5 million to a former Groton resident who said she was left with permanent debilitating injuries resulting from improperly administered anesthesia care during surgery.

Karla Rosa, a 44-year-old mother of two now living in Ohio with her family, brought the malpractice case against Anesthesia Associates of New London for treatment she received at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London in 2006. Named as co-defendants were anesthesiologists Drs. Thomas Meitt and Bart Calobrisi, who died in February, and Jean Richeimer, certified nurse anesthetist. L&M was originally also named as a co-defendant, but it was dropped from the case.

"We're glad to finally be able to bring some peace to the family," said Sean McElligott, attorney for Rosa and her husband, Delmar Rosa, who was a co-defendant. The family relocated to Ohio in 2007 after Delmar Rosa retired from the Navy. The lawsuit was brought in 2008.

McElligott said Karla Rosa is at home being taken care of by her family.

"She needs a lot of assistance from her daughters," he said.

According to the lawsuit, as a result of the "carelessness and negligence" of Anesthesia Associates in its pre-operative assessments, use of anesthesia equipment and patient monitoring, Rosa suffered "serious, severe, painful and permanent injuries" that caused her to be "permanently deprived of her full ability to carry on and enjoy life's activities."

She spent 26 days in a coma followed by 29 days in the hospital's intensive care unit and 45 days in verbal and orthopedic rehabilitation, according to court documents.

She also suffered nerve damage, memory loss, had to use a feeding tub and venous catheter, had a tracheotomy and was left with a tracheotomy scar, has pain in her feet and other physiological, psychological and neurological side effects, according to the documents.

Anesthesia Associates was represented in the case by attorney Robert Cooney of Williams, Cooney & Sheehy of Trumbull. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.