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Lawsuit: Doctor used YouTube as guide for surgery during which patient died

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by: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

UNION, S.C. – The family of a man who died at a South Carolina hospital last March has sued the doctor who treated him, claiming the physician failed to provide timely care and had to watch a YouTube video to learn the procedure needed to save his patient’s life.

The wife of Patrick Eugene Kelly sued Dr. Hani Mohamed Sorour, who the lawsuit alleged practiced under a variety of trade names, including Union Medical Center, where Kelly went for treatment on March 2, 2016, according to Fox Carolina.

The January lawsuit, obtained by the news station, alleged that Kelly went to the hospital’s emergency room for treatment of a sore throat, was given penicillin and sent home. He returned to the ER a few hours later, suffering from an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.

Kelly’s tongue and throat were swelling, he was short of breath, and he had trouble swallowing and speaking, the lawsuit said. Sorour, who was a temporary physician at the hospital, was the doctor assigned to his case on that second visit.

The lawsuit claimed that Sorour failed to recognize and properly diagnose the apparent anaphylaxis from which Kelly was suffering and, subsequently, did not give him medication that could have halted the allergic reaction. Kelly’s condition worsened and, by the time Sorour tried to intubate, or put a tube down his throat to help him breathe, his airway was swollen shut.

Sorour, who state records showed is licensed to practice family medicine, then attempted an emergency cricothyrotomy in Kelly’s throat to create an alternative airway, but did not get advice from other doctors at the hospital about the proper procedure.

Instead, Sorour looked up the procedure on YouTube, the lawsuit alleged.

WSPA-TV in Spartanburg reported that the Union Police Department, called in to investigate by the coroner, found the website open on Sorour’s computer.

The lawsuit claimed Sorour “botched” the cricothyrotomy, causing Kelly’s heart to stop. As other medical staff performed CPR, the doctor told them to stop after just a few minutes because “without an open airway, chest compressions would not help,” the lawsuit stated.

That directive goes against the standard of care for CPR, which requires chest compressions to be performed even without a proper airway, the lawsuit said.

“Defendant Sorour’s directive to stop CPR chest compressions and the other substandard care he provided to Mr. Kelly were the proximate cause of Mr. Kelly’s untimely death,” the lawsuit stated.

Read the entire lawsuit here.

WSPA-TV reported that Sorour, who graduated medical school in Egypt, was convicted of misdemeanor assault of a female physician’s assistant in 2008 in Virginia. He initially was sentenced to a 30-day suspended sentence, but appealed the case and wound up with a second guilty verdict and a sentence of 20 weekends in jail.

The Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia, reported in September 2008 that the victim testified she was “terrified” by Sorour’s actions, which took place when the two met at a dinner organized by a pharmaceutical company. The woman testified that Sorour asked her for a dance at the dinner, but she declined.

When he offered to walk her to her car after the event, she agreed.

She testified that he forcefully tried to kiss her multiple times on the way to the car, scratching her sides as she tried to pull away. Photos of her injuries were shown in court, the Daily Press said.

Sorour then followed her home, at which time she called a colleague for help. The man, a cardiologist at the same hospital where Sorour worked and the woman worked part-time, told her to drive to the hospital and he would meet her there.

The woman told the court that Sorour blocked her car on a street near the hospital, screaming at her to pull over. The cardiologist testified that he could hear the screaming in the background of their phone call, the Daily Press reported.

Sorour was apologetic the following day, but ultimately lost his job at the hospital, the newspaper reported.

Sorour wrote a letter attempting to explain his conviction in 2011, when he applied for a medical license in South Carolina. In the letter, obtained by WSPA-TV, he accused the victim of filing false charges against him.

Though Sorour denied forcing himself on the woman, he admitted that he followed her in his car after they’d left the dinner. He claimed he’d misinterpreted her interest in him and wrote that after his colleague intervened, he left her alone.

He denied the allegations that he caused the scratches on her body and called his conviction and sentence “totally unfair.”

Read the entire letter here.

The lawsuit filed by Kelly’s wife asked for all possible damages, including punitive damages. In his response to the suit, Sorour said he did not commit “any act(s) and/or omission(s) which proximately caused the damages” alleged in the case.

Officials with the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System told Fox Carolina that Sorour is not an employee of Union Medical Center and is no longer a temporary member of the staff.

Sorour’s license to practice in South Carolina remains active, according to the state. Issued in 2007, it is set to expire in June.

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