Cruising

Wed, 19 Sep, 2018Danielle McCarthy

$4.6 million payout over cruise nightmare

$4.6 million payout over cruise nightmare

A man has been awarded a $4.6 million compensation from Norwegian Cruise Lines after a simple trip to the cruise doctor turned into hell.

Ilija Loncar, 30, who was formerly employed as a waiter on the cruise ship the Norwegian Breakaway, made a trip to the ship’s doctor after he developed flu-like symptoms, including nausea.

The doctor onboard, Sebastian Campuzano, had been hired by the cruise line a few months prior and was described as a “young, inexperienced, Columbia-trained physician”.

To treat the mild symptoms, Dr Campuzano prescribed the antihistamine promethazine, which was injected by nurse Marco Oracion in a “huge” dose over a short period of time.

This error led to an “intense” reaction that plunged Mr Loncar into a detrimental situation that resulted in his arm being amputated.

Loncar’s lawyer, Thomas Scolaro, alleged in a Florida court that the medication wasn’t suitable for the worker’s illness and that the anti-nausea drug Zofran would’ve been a better treatment.

The drug was also injected intravenously into Mr Loncar’s arm, instead of intramuscularly in his buttocks, which is the recommended technique.

“(Dr Campuzano) gave the wrong medication, the wrong dosage by the wrong route through the wrong injection site, and it was administered over the wrong time and by the wrong method,” Mr Scolaro said.

“They gave (Mr Loncar) the most dangerous type of medication they could give to treat this very simple, common problem that can be treated with a very light and easy medication — Zofran. It’s all they needed to do."

It was also claimed that the 25-milligram dose that was administered was well above the usual amount prescribed.

The Miami Daily Business Review reports: “All the medical data out there strongly suggests six and a quarter milligrams is a perfectly therapeutic dose. Campuzano orders it by intravenous injection when there is a pill, there’s a suppository, there’s a syrup.

“ … He orders it by IV injection into the vein when — if you are going to order this medication through the injectable method — there’s a FDA black box warning on IV promethazine, which says the preferred route is deep intramuscular, which is a shot in the tush.”

Even when Mr Loncar reported a reaction to the medication, the medical staff did not respond.

“As soon as the medication went in he immediately reported burning,” Mr Scolaro said. 

“All the warnings out there say when there is a reported burning, you stop.”

A few hours later, Mr Loncar’s right forearm turned black and blue.

Instead of immediately evacuating the employee to a hospital, the medical staff massaged the area for 24 hours until the ship reached the next dock.

Due to the extreme negligence and human error, Mr Loncar developed Compartment Syndrome, where pressure builds up due to internal bleeding and swelling.

Once he arrived at a hospital, it was too late to save his gangrene-infected arm.

After emergency operations, Mr Loncar’s arm was amputated at the elbow.

The former employee suffered mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, loss of future earning capacity, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, inconvenience, humiliation, scarring and disfigurement.

Mr Scolora alleges that this is all because of “wilful, wanton, and outrageous violations” in the form of medical errors and the failure to evacuate Mr Loncar.

Mr Loncar was awarded AU$4.6 million for past and present pain, medical expenses and loss of earning capacity.