CHARLESTON – A Rosedale couple is suing a Charleston surgeon for injuries sustained during surgery.

On Feb. 3, Vonda Knicely was scheduled for surgery by Dr. Stacey Copeland for the placement of a subcutaneous injection port in the area of her right clavicle, according to a complaint filed Oct. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Knicely claims the surgery was to be performed while she was under monitored anesthesia care.

As the surgery began, anesthesia was being administered and Knicely was being delivered oxygen via a disposable oxygen mask, according to the suit, and the surgical site was draped with cotton surgical towels and the arrangement of the towels was in such a way that they were placed over Knicely's chin and over the area of the oxygen mask.

Knicely claims during the surgery, Copeland used an electrosurgical unit and prior to the surgery, she knew or should have known that the unit she chose creates sparks at the active electrode tip.

Copeland knew or should have known that the sparks at the electrode tip of the ESU can cause fire in a surgical site and that the sparks are enhanced in the presence of any oxygen-enriched environment, according to the suit.

Knicely claims when the ESU was being used, it sparked and caught a radiopaque sponge on fire and the fire spread to the surgical drapes and to her body.

Copeland owed a duty to Knicely to provide proper and adequate medical care and failed to do so, according to the suit.

Knicely and her husband, William Knicely, are seeking compensatory damages with pre-judgment interest. They are being represented by Guy R. Bucci, Mark A. Barney and Timothy F. Rayne.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1827

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