By Katherine Sayre
Staff Reporter Mobile Press-Register

A Mobile County jury awarded $20 million this week to the family of a woman who plaintiffs’ lawyers said died after receiving improper anesthesia care.

The jury returned the wrongful death verdict against medical group Coastal Anesthesia, Dr. Randall Boudreaux and Don Ortego, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, court records show.

Paulett Pettaway Hall, a 32-year-old wife and mother of two, died Jan. 16, 2006, after receiving anesthesia prior to exploratory surgery, according to Cunningham Bounds, the law firm that represented Hall’s estate.

Hall, who had been suffering from severe abdominal pain, breathed bile from her stomach into her lungs, the lawyers stated in a press release. She died at Springhill Medical Center.

Coastal Anesthesia, Boudreaux and Ortego denied the claims in the lawsuit, according to court records.

Defense lawyer Wesley Pipes, speaking on behalf of his clients, said, “We were disappointed in the jury’s verdict, and we’re disappointed that they did not seem to understand the evidence we tried to present.”

Pipes declined further comment.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that Boudreaux and Ortego did not examine Hall’s abdomen or look at her medical records prior to the exploratory surgery, which would have identified her risk factors for breathing fluid into her lungs, according to the Cunningham Bounds news release.

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