The family of a 34-year-old Waco man who died in May 2019 after surgery for throat infections has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a doctor, his clinic and a local hospital.
Monica and Michael Swindall, the parents of Michael Jeffrey Swindall, and his children, Isaiah Swindall and Braxton Swindall, are seeking unspecified damages “in a fair and reasonable amount” in their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Waco’s 170th State District Court. The suit names as defendants Dr. Mace Benjamin Brindley; Waco Otolaryngology Associates, doing business as Waco Ear, Nose and Throat; Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Hillcrest; and its parent company, Baylor Scott & White Health.
Megan Snipes, a spokesperson for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Hillcrest, declined comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.
“There is nothing more important to us than the quality of care we provide to our communities. As this is pending litigation, we are not able to comment at this time,” Snipes said.
Neither Brindley nor the clinic manager at Waco Ear, Nose and Throat returned phone messages Wednesday.
Jeffrey Swindall, a 2002 Connally High School graduate, worked as a barber at Waco Fades and hoped to open his own barbershop, according to his funeral notice.
He had a sore throat and difficulty breathing for several days before going to the emergency room at Hillcrest on May 4, 2019, according to the lawsuit. He was examined, prescribed an antibiotic and steroid and released that day.
He returned to the emergency department the next day after his symptoms worsened. Swindall had swelling in his neck area and throat and had difficulty swallowing, according to the suit.
“Despite taking medications as prescribed, the pain and swelling had worsened to the point that he complained of shortness of breath and inability to lay flat because it felt like his throat closed,” the lawsuit states.
Swindall was admitted to the hospital and Brindley “was consulted,” according to the lawsuit. Swindall underwent surgery the next day for infections in his throat, or, according to the suit, “incision and drainage of retropharyngeal and peritonsillar abscess.”
An endotracheal tube was placed for anesthesia, and after surgery, the tube was removed.
“Shortly after removal, his airway completely closed, and he had an obstructive respiratory arrest. Despite resuscitation efforts, Mr. Swindall suffered complete brain death and was pronounced dead,” the suit states.
The lawsuit alleges Brindley was negligent by performing surgery without considering Swindall’s health history; negligently removed, ordered removal or allowed the removal of the endotracheal tube before allowing Swindall reasonable time for his symptoms to improve; and by failing “to make orders for recovery to prevent the complication which occurred, resulting in Michael Jeffrey Swindall’s death.”
Waco Ear, Nose and Throat and the hospital system were negligent, the suit alleges, by failing to train their employees in the “proper time and circumstances for removal of the endotracheal tube after surgery for a patient like” Swindall; and by failing to have appropriate practices and procedures to obtain relevant health history prior to surgery, “and to address the timing of removal of an endotracheal tube in a patient like” Swindall.