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Kansas City Star - September 28, 1990

The Nicole Adams Case

Kansas City Star

A 10-year-old Kansas City girl who came out of minor skin surgery blinded and brain-damaged received $3 million Thursday in a partial settlement of her malpractice lawsuit.

Three doctors and an anesthesia group agreed to pay the money to remove themselves from the Jackson County Court case.

Children’s Mercy Hospital, three doctors, two nurses and a pediatric group did not settle and are still defendants in the lawsuit filed by Julia Adams on behalf of her daughter, Nicole Adams.

The lawsuit filed last year, charges that doctors drowned Nicole and stopped her heart by negligently giving her about 20 pounds of a routinely used saline solution – an amount about three times the volume of all her blood.

“This child was puffed up like a balloon – her tongue was so swollen it protruded from her mouth and nobody caught the mistake,” Anita Porte Robb, her attorney, said Thursday.

Nicole had been an 8-year-old in second grade at Phillis Wheatley School in 1988, according to court papers. She went to the hospital for minor skin-graft surgery after upending a skillet containing grease that spilled on her back March 25, 1988.

Nicole died and was revived by doctors after the skin-graft operation March 30, 1988, but she suffered permanent blindness, brain damage and partial paralysis. She now has the mental level of about a 3-year-old and will require special care all her life, Robb said.

Drs. Peter Mestad, Robert Binda and Catherine Powers, and their group, Anesthesia Associates of Kansas City Inc., agreed to pay $3 million but accepted no blame under the settlement agreement. Their attorney, Kirk J. Goza, could not be reached for comment.

Drs. Jans Jelinek, Stephen E. Schnidand, and Ronald J. Sharp are also defendants, along with the Pediatric Surgical Associates.

Timothy Aylward, attorney for Childrens’s Mercy and nurses Cindy Dooley and Susan Roushar, declined to comment.

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