Boca teen dies during surgery: Who's to blame? - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Boca teen dies during surgery: Who's to blame?

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Reporter: Alex Zequiera

Friends and family of a Boca Raton teen who died following complications from surgery prepare to say goodbye Wednesday.

Meanwhile, medical experts are trying to determine why she died.

The families attorney says a rare genetic disorder may be to blame.

Stephanie Kuleba was indeed loved by many people. A popular teen that was preparing to head to Gainesville where she planned on studying pre-med, and, eventually, pursue a career in the field of medicine to help others. Unfortunately, a tragic accident cut her life short leaving those who knew and loved her heart broken.

"She just always had a smile on her face. If you looked like you were having a bad day, she would try and make you feel better no matter what."

Those who knew her best say she made friends wherever she went and that her dedication to those friends matched no other.

"She was wonderful; it's just a really big tragedy for our school."

Hundreds packed into the Babione Funeral Home Tuesday to say goodbye to Kuleba.

The 18-year-old West Boca High Senior died over the weekend after complications with a breast reconstruction surgery at Dr. Steven Shuster's Outpatient Surgical Center. Her death stemming from malignant hypothermia, a rare genetic condition the caused Kuleba's temperature to spike after having a negative reaction to the anesthesia.

The Kuleba's family attorney says he is not blaming the doctor nor the anesthesiologist just yet, but he is sure her reaction could have been treated with the drug Dantrolene.

Roberto Stanziale, says, "If in fact the medical examiner does come back and indicates to us that the cause of death was malignant hypothermia, the questions are now going to be: Why wasn't she diagnosed quickly? Why wasn't she administered the dantrolene? And if she was administered the Dantrolene, was it done at appropriate times and in the appropriate dosages?"

In the meantime, a memorial to Stephanie outside her alma mater continues to grow with even more flowers, pictures and teddy bears. A definite sign that Stephanie Kuleba touched the hearts of many.

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