Denver Doctor Facing Suits for Alleged Malpractice



A Denver pain management specialist is facing two medical malpractice lawsuits that allege he made mistakes that lead to cardiac arrests in patients. One patient, the former president and owner of Kacey Fine Furniture and Denver socialite Leslie Fishbein, died. The other, Zina Balash, suffered brain damage and now has serious problems.

Both women visited the Center for Medical Pain Management and were given a local anesthetic called Marcaine, or bupivacaine, in their trigger points. Fishbein’s death was ruled an accident by the coroner, who said she died from a lack of oxygen to the brain. Balash suffered a seizure and a heart attack. The events happened in March 2007 and again in March 2008.

Both parties have the same attorney, and both suits claim the doctor did not have the equipment or personnel needed to handle an emergency.

Balash’s family has filed a civil negligence suit claiming, in part, that Balash “suffered permanent injuries, including mild brain injury affecting memory and ability to multitask, emotional distress, mental anguish, inconvenience, anxiety and stress.” The victim further suffered “economic losses,” which include lost past and future income and earnings, past and future medical and therapeutic expenses, and other past and future losses. The suit also claims the doctor has no formal accreditation in pain management and that he failed to utilize the facilities at the hospital where his practice is located.

Leslie Fishbein’s husband has filed a wrongful death suit against the doctor.

Both parties’ attorney has been practicing medical malpractice for 30 years and says he has never seen a trigger point injection cause a cardiac arrest. The doctor is still practicing and his lawyer says patient confidentiality precludes present patients from knowing about these lawsuits. However, the doctor has stopped using Marcaine.

While this may be a case of negligence in that the doctor was not ready for medical emergencies, perhaps the use of Marcaine must also be looked at. HealthONE, a company that owns several hospitals, including the one where this doctor practices, issued a statement saying they have recommended to all their physicians that they stop using Marcaine. The FDA issued a warning saying that cardiac arrest is a risk and that it is not recommended for use with obstetrical patients.