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Cruise employee will receive $3.34 million payment after the ship’s doctor gives the wrong medication and wrong dosage’

A cruise ship employee was left without an arm after an “inexperienced” doctor gave him the wrong medication.

(iStock)

It is a story that is so shocking is it too crazy for words, and has resulted in a man is awarded $3.34 million in compensation.

Ilija Loncar was working as a waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway when he developed flu-like symptoms, such as nausea. But when the 30-year-old, from Serbia, are made of a simple visit to the ship’s doctor for some relief, he would never be able to predict the events that would follow.

The doctor, Sebastian Campuzano, was hired by the cruise line just a couple of months, and was described as a “young, inexperienced, Columbia-trained physician”.

According to the documents filed in a Florida court, Dr. Campuzano prescribed antihistamine promethazine, which was injected by a nurse Marco Oracion in a “large” dose in a short period of time. This leads to an “intense” reaction that even the crew member is in a catastrophic situation that resulted in his arm being amputated.

Loncar’s attorney at law Thomas B. Scolaro, Miami-based company Leesfield Scolaro, claims the medication was not suitable for the worker’s illness and that the anti-nausea drug Zofran would be a better option.

The drug had also allegedly been administered intravenously in Mr. Loncar’s arm, instead of by intramuscular injection in his buttocks, which is the recommended technique.

“They gave (the Lord Loncar) the most dangerous form of medication they could give for the treatment of these very simple, common problem that can be treated with a very light and easy medication Zofran. It’s all they had to do.

– Thomas B. Scolaro, Attorney At Law

“(Dr. Campuzano) gave the wrong medication, the wrong dose by the wrong route through the wrong injection site, and it was administered via the wrong time and the wrong method,” Mr. Scolaro said.

“They gave (the Lord Loncar) the most dangerous form of medication they could give for the treatment of these very simple, common problem that can be treated with a very light and easy medication Zofran. It’s all they had to do.

“It is like taking a Howitzer to destroy something if all you have to do is a little BB gun and it would do the same. The Howitzer will destroy everything in its path. It was overkill.”

He claims that the 25 milligram dose that was administered was far above the normal amount is prescribed, the Miami Daily Business Review reports in March 2016 incident.

“All medical information there is a strong presumption of six and a quarter milligrams is a perfectly therapeutic dose. Campuzano orders by intravenous injection when there is a pill, a suppository, a syrup.

“… He orders by intravenous injection into the vein when — if you are taking this medication using the injectable method — there is an FDA black box warning on IV promethazine, which says that the preferred route is deep intramuscular, that is a shot in the tush.”

Even when the Lord Loncar notification of a response, the medical staff were not alarmed.

As a result of the series of events the cruise employee developed Compartment Syndrome, where pressure is built up by an internal bleeding and swelling.

(iStock)

“As soon as the medication went in, he immediately reported to burn,” Mr Scolaro said. “All of the warnings that there is to say when there is a reported burn, you stop.”

The court document also claim that: “the FDA issued the warning because of the corrosive drug has the tendency to overwhelm vascular walls and severe damage to the surrounding tissue. Intravenous and intra-arterial injection of promethazine has led to a lot of publicity amputations to unfortunate patients … it was completely unnecessary.

“… Oracion missed the median cubital vein and injected instead of the drug in the ulnar artery in the forearm … Whereas intravenous administration of promethazine is just an incorrect and dangerous, the shooting of 25 mg of promethazine into an artery is never medically indicated, is exceedingly reckless, and is almost certain to lead to catastrophic vascular damage.”

A few hours later, Mr. Loncar, the right forearm was black and blue. But instead of immediately to evacuate him from the ship via helicopter, an expensive affair, the medical staff massaged the affected area for 24 hours and waited until the ship reached the next dock.

“[He] has a nub for a right arm, that his life changed forever.”

– Thomas B. Scolaro, Attorney At Law

As a result of the series of events that he developed Compartment Syndrome, where pressure is built up by an internal bleeding and swelling. This required the amputation of his arm once he’s finally in the hospital, it was too late to save his gangrene-infested arm.

A few days later, after emergency operations, the arm was amputated at the elbow. Now, he “has a nub for a right arm, his life is forever changed”.

Mr. Loncar also suffered mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, loss of future earning capacity, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, inconvenience, humiliation, scars and deformities.

All, the Lord Scolora claims, because of “intent, gross and outrageous violations” in the form of medical errors and the failure to evacuate him in a timely manner.

The defense argued that Mr. Loncar had a “venous anomaly”, and that makes him vulnerable to the response that he has suffered.

In an arbitration case in a Florida court, Mr. Loncar was awarded $3.34 million for past and future pain, medical expenses and loss of earning capacity.

news.com.au has contacted Norwegian Cruise Lines for comments.

This article originally appeared on the news.com.au.

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