Paula Rojeski's Death After Lap Band Surgery Draws Suit--From the Clinic That Performed It

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Paula Rojeski, R.I.P.
Here's a twist: our departed Michelle Woo reported last year on lawsuit where a worker at a 1-800-GET-THIN clinic alleged her employers covered up details of a surgical procedure that ended with the death of Ladera Ranch's Paula Rojeski.

Now, the West Hills clinic where the procedure was performed is suing the County of Los Angeles and the LA coroner's office.

1-800-GET-THIN Clinic Worker Claims Details Were Covered Up in OC Woman's Death

Paramedics were called as Rojeski was undergoing Lap-Band surgery at Valley Surgical Center in September 2011. She was unconscious and had no pulse when paramedics arrived and later died at a nearby hospital. She was 55.

Valley Surgical Center LLC seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming several individual defendants, including Coroner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, Deputy Medical Examiner Selma Calmes and coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter, reports City News Service's Bill Hetherman.

The suit alleges:

  • "The coroner's office and its representatives fabricated and falsified the available and known evidence regarding the Rojeski surgical procedure. They misrepresented the cause of death by contending that the fabricated evidence demonstrates that the surgical procedure caused the death."
  • The coroner's office forwarded the allegedly false information to the LAPD, Rojeski's relatives and the media.
  • Calmes, the coroner's anesthesia consultant in the case, was "heavily biased," Valley Surgical Center's complaint about using Calmes was "met with retaliation."
  • Calmes made false statements to the public and released parts of Rojeski's confidential medical history, including "a significant and material history of heart damage secondary to the drug fen-phen."
  • Business at Valley Surgical Center has "dramatically declined due to the cloud over its head because of the implication that Ms. Rojeski died due to Valley's actions."

The county and coroner are not yet commenting on the suit.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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