A South Florida teenager who was captain of her high school cheerleading squad and had plans to become a doctor died after corrective breast surgery, a family attorney said Tuesday.
Stephanie Kuleba, 18, died Saturday, about 24 hours after her surgery. Kuleba was rushed to Delray Medical Center about two hours into the procedure to correct asymmetrical breasts and inverted areola, family attorney Roberto Stanziale said.
Kuleba went to her doctor's outpatient office, not a hospital for the procedure, reports CBS News' The Early Show. Both her plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist were board certified.
"Malignant hyperthermia is a catastrophic condition that's caused by certain anesthetic agents that trigger a chain reaction within the body which puts into a hyper or increased metabolic state," plastic surgeon Dr. Frederick Lukash told The Early Show.
Lukash said doctors can use Dantrolene - which is "the ultimate and end all treatment" for this malignant hyperthermia - but that it must be started immediately once symptoms occur.
"This was something that was believed to be a routine procedure," said Stanziale, who added that it was too early to determine if any legal action would be taken. "There was never any indication that she was not going to walk out of that surgical suite. It's obviously devastating."
A message left after-hours at the clinic where Kuleba's surgery was performed was not immediately returned and a telephone listing for the Kuleba family was unavailable.
Grieving friends turned Kuleba's parking space at a Boca Raton high school into a makeshift memorial with flowers, candles and a teddy bear. Friends called Kuleba "Sunshine" because of her blonde hair and smile.
"I have chills right now just thinking about it," Ashley Gutknecht, 18, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It doesn't seem real."