Case Conclusion Date: March 13, 2008
Practice Area: Medical Malpractice
Description: This malpractice case was against plastic surgeon Dr. Bryan Michelow and his corporation Contemporary Cosmetics, Inc in favor of his patient Lauren Wargo in the amount of $872,000 as a result of second degree burns she suffered on her face and neck caused by a fire in an operating room at the Zeeba Surgery Center on December 18, 2006. Lauren, age 20, was having a mole removed from her right eyebrow and was sedated and receiving oxygen supplementation via a face mask when Dr. Michelow activated an electocautery "device known as a bovie which caused a fire to erupt in the operating room". Ms. Wargo alleged that Dr. Michelow was negligent in failing to communicate to the anesthesia assistant who was controlling the oxygen that he was going to use the bovie so that the anesthesia assistant would know to turn off the oxygen. During the trial, Dr. Michelow blamed this anesthesia assistant for not knowing that he was going to use the bovie. The jury exonerated the anesthesia assistant and found Dr. Michelow 100% responsible for the fire. The jury also found that Dr. Michelow concealed from Lauren and her parents the true cause of the fire and as a result awarded Lauren an additional $425,000 in punitive damages against the doctor.