Girl left disabled after tonsilectomy; what you need to know about the surgery

A local girl was left brain damaged after what most think is a routine surgery.

Last year -- just before Ella Kepner's 2nd birthday -- the Trinity girl had her tonsils and adenoids removed.

It’s a routine surgery.

But something catastrophic happened that day — she was left disabled after a severe brain injury.

“We were pretty much told she would be a vegetable if she did make it through the event that took place,” said Trisha Kepner, her mother.

Her parents are suing the doctor who performed the procedure along with the hospital. Because of that, they won’t go into details about what exactly happened.

“She loves to sing dance and she still loves music," Kepner said. That's how we get her to work at home a lot because we do therapy at home just as much as she goes to therapy. Music is her motivation."

Monday, hundreds of people held a fundraiser for Ella at the East Lake Varsity Club in Palm Harbor to help her parents with medical bills.

So far they’ve raised $9,000 through a GoFundMe account and another $10,000 through the restaurant.

Ella’s mom had to stop working to take care of her—now they live on one income— from her dad’s job.

“Our insurance pays for some but there’s a lot of medical treatments that the insurance doesn’t cover," Trisha Kepner said. "So at this point we’re trying everything that we can try to. Even if it’s not approved by the insurance."

A tonsilectomy is the second-most common ambulatory procedure performed on children under the age of 15, with 530,000 children undergoing it every year.

What happened to Ella is rare. But you’re probably still worried.

Here are some questions you should ask if your child will be given anesthesia.

  • What level of sedation or general anesthesia will be given?
  • How will my child be monitored before, during and after the procedure?
  • What training and experience does the provider have providing the level of sedation or anesthesia that will be given?
     

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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