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Local News in Brief : Suit Over Brain Injury Delayed by Boy’s Death

The death of a severely brain-damaged 8-year-old boy has brought a temporary halt to a medical negligence trial in which the Medical Center of Tarzana and five San Fernando Valley doctors are accused of having caused his condition, the family’s attorney said.

Scott Thomas of Canoga Park died Monday at University of California Medical Center in San Francisco while undergoing surgery to correct a heart defect, a hospital spokeswoman said. The boy was born with a defective heart and had undergone two previous operations.

His parents, Ronald and Rebecca Thomas, had filed a medical negligence suit that had gone to trial in Van Nuys Superior Court. The parents claim their son was incorrectly given anesthesia and was not given enough oxygen during a 1982 operation to correct an undescended testicle.

In their lawsuit, which seeks several million dollars in damages, they charged that the treatment caused permanent brain damage.

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The boy’s death has called the future of the trial into question, said Bruce G. Fagel, the family’s attorney.

Superior Court Judge G. Keith Wisot ordered that the trial be stopped until Oct. 15, when he will decide how or if the case should continue.

“I don’t know what will happen at this time,” Fagal said, adding that Wisot has ordered that details of the case not be discussed outside court.


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