Mother-of-two Kay Cregan died almost two years ago following a facelift procedure at the Manhattan clinic of disgraced surgeon Dr Michael Sachs.
New York lawyer Thomas Moore filed a lawsuit on behalf of her husband, Liam, in New York’s Supreme Court on December 15, 2005.
A spokesperson for Mr Moore said yesterday the proceedings were at discovery of documents stage. The case is likely to come to hearing some time in 2008.
In the suit, Mr Cregan has accused Michael Evan Sachs of negligence, carelessness and gross indifference.
His suit also names Dr Madhavrao Subbarao, an anaesthesiologist, and claims both doctors failed Ms Cregan, 42, at every step of the procedure.
Ms Cregan had arranged in secret to travel to New York for a facelift, after reading a report in an Irish Sunday newspaper about a Carlow woman who had attended Dr Sachs’s clinic.
Ms Cregan had wanted to surprise her husband with the surgery.
She agreed to pay Dr Sachs $32,000 for the operation. This included accommodation after the operation to recuperate.
Ms Cregan underwent the operation on March 14, 2005, but suffered a heart attack while in a recovery room at Dr Sachs’s clinic.
She was transferred to St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital where she was pronounced dead on March 17 when a life-support machine was switched off in the presence of her husband, who rushed to her bedside from Co Limerick.
Dr Sachs, a self-styled celebrity surgeon, was dubbed Dr Botch when details of the number of legal cases taken against him emerged following the death of Ms Cregan.
The New York Daily News had reported he was one of the state’s most sued surgeons. He had been involved in more than 30 malpractice cases dating back to 1995, according to the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. Sachs was ordered not to perform any complex nasal procedures without the supervision of another physician.
Sachs denied Ms Cregan’s death was his fault. His lawyer, Jay Butterman, said she suffered from an undiagnosed irregular heartbeat.
However, New York’s medical examiner ruled in May, 2005 that Ms Cregan’s operation was partly to blame for her death and said she had no pre-existing condition that could have played a role in her death.
A spokesperson for the medical examiner said Ms Cregan died from “therapeutic complications” and that the surgery to her face, nose, lips and eyebrows was “a contributory factor in her death”.
Mr Butterman disputed these findings and claimed Sachs operated “perfectly”.
Ms Cregan, who was a senior official with Limerick City Council, lived in Croom with her husband, who is a farmer and plumber, and their two sons, Brian, who was eight at the time of her death and Eoghan, who was six.