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A Miami-Dade jury has awarded a woman $16 million in a medical malpractice suit that alleges complications from an unnecessary operation left her with brain damage.

Lourdes Landis, 48, of Miami, suffered from a seizure in 2001 after being discharged from the hospital after brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. Landis lapsed into a coma and suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. Her attorneys argued that the surgery was unnecessary and the University of Miami neurosurgeon Jacques J. Morcos mishandled the operation and postoperative care. Morcos contends the tumor may have been deadly.

“I was the third opinion on this and we were all saying the same thing,” Morcos said. “This tumor was blocking the fluid spaces of her brain, causing a threat to her life — not immediately, but eventually. There was some bleeding, but it was properly managed with medication. She was discharged in the expected postoperative state. The tragedy in this case is that Fire Rescue was unable to secure her airway.”

“Morcos did nothing wrong,” said Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the Miller School of Medicine. “He’s a formidable surgeon, and he did everything he could to help save the life of Lourdes Landis. This was a very complex case, as it often is with brain tumors. Most of the time the surgery goes well _ practically all the time. However, in rare instances, a complication takes place that is completely unavoidable.”

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