On March 20, 2012, following an uncomplicated tonsillectomy outpatient procedure performed at Abington Surgical Center, Mariah Edwards was abandoned and not properly monitored by nurses responsible for her care in the post-anesthesia care unit, or PACU.
Upon arrival to the PACU, Mariah was administered Fentanyl, a potent narcotic known for depressing respiratory function.
Despite the known adverse complications associated with the narcotic, Mariah was left unmonitored by the nurse assigned to her in the PACU for at least 25 minutes.
Mariah’s changing and worsening respiratory condition went unobserved and untreated as she laid in the PACU with the curtains drawn.
Nurses failed to perform routine assessments to determine if Mariah was arrousable and failed to take any vital signs following an initial set taken immediately upon entry to the PACU. It was also uncovered during the course of discovery that monitoring equipment utilized to alert health care providers to changing conditions were muted, ignored and/or not properly set.
As a result of the prolonged period of being deprived oxygen, Mariah suffered a profound and irreversible brain injury. From the Abington Surgical Center, Mariah was transferred and treated at Abington Memorial Hospital for 15 days, until her death on April 3, 2012.
The case drew media attention, including a front-page article in The Legal Intelligencer (read story here), and a Special Investigative Report by 6ABC WPVI TV in Philadelphia (view video below).