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It has been over two months since the nation heard the story
about a high school senior who died shortly after experiencing complications during a routine breast augmentation
surgery. Now the autopsy has confirmed that the teen, Stephanie Kubela, did in
fact die as a result of a rare genetic disease that can be triggered by certain
anesthesia. Malignant hyperthermia is a hidden hereditary condition that can
lay dormant for decades, but if set off can speed up the body’s metabolism and
heart rate, caused rigidity of muscles and drastically increase body
temperature resulting in death. Most patients survive an episode when treated
for the condition during surgery; however, this was not the case for West Boca Raton

The Kubela’s attorney, Roberto Stanzaile, says that the
autopsy results will have no bearing on whether or not a lawsuit will be filed against Dr. Steven Schuester, who preformed Stephanie’s breast surgery. He says the
decision on to pursue a lawsuit or not will likely be made by next week. The
teen’s parents have contended that Schuster’s office was ill-prepared to treat
the condition.

the plastic surgeon, and Dr. Peter Warheit, the anesthesiologist, called 911
and gave Kuleba the antidote drug dantrolene. They also called the Malignant
Hyperthermia Association hotline and consulted an expert at the Mayo Clinic in

news of Kubela’s death spread quickly across the nation casting a spotlight on
the rare genetic condition. The mass media coverage of the incident has
increased public awareness about the dangers that may be associated with
anesthesia and has brought the condition back into the forefront of physicians’
minds as well.

hyperthermia occurs in about one of every 20-100 thousand patients who undergo
anesthesia. With no simple test to diagnose the condition doctors must rely on
family history and consultation questions.

Over the
past two months the Kubela family has seen prom, graduation, and Mother’s Day
come and go as constant reminders of their loss. My thoughts and prayers go out
to them as they struggle through these difficult times.

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