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Monday, April 23, 2012
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (CN) - The family of a late Kaiser employee claims in court that a Kaiser hospital waited 14 hours to interpret their mother's CT scan, and read it to mean that her brain injury "may be slightly resolving," though she had died of the injury 1 hour after the scan was taken.
The family asked a Superior Court judge to force the hospital group into arbitration for failing to diagnose the brain injury that killed her.
The complete article may be read at Courthousenews.com.
A copy of the actual filing may be downloaded and read from the following link:
Case filed in San Bernardino County Court, Rancho Cucamonga Division
Case # CIVRS1202853
Decedent, MICHELLE CHAPIN , age 29, on August 1, 2010, was presented to Pomona
Valley Hospital Medical Center emergency room as a result of a blow to the decedent's head by a
male assailant. At the time of the examination, it was determined that the decedent was involved
in a fight the night before which resulted in blows to her face, head and other areas of her body.
There was no loss of consciousness but the decedent did susain a forehead contusion and some
other bruising. After an initial examination, a CT scan was ordered of the head. Radiologic findings
showed the decedent suffered from left frontal temporal subdural hematoma with minimal rightward
subfalcine shift and left frontal scalp swelling hematoma. The subdural hematoma measured up to
11 mm in thickness with an approximate 2 mm rightward shift.
Because the decedent was a Kaiser member, 8166001, and was a Kaiser employee, the
decedent was ordered transferred to a Kaiser Permanente facility and eventually ended up at the
Kaiser Permanente facility in Fontana Califomia. At the time of transfer from Pomona Valley
Hospital Medical Center, the emergency room physician noted in the medical records: "The patient
is being transferred to Kaiser-Fontana Medical Center in stable condition. The patient's condition
is remarkably stable considering the size of her subdural hematoma. She will be admitted for
neurosurgical evaluation and further treatment. I explained to the patient that she might end up
needing surgery. She might end up having a seizure disorder. She agrees to be admitted and will
be transferred to Kaiser for that purpose."
On August 1, 2010, instead of being transferred to Kaiser-Fontana the decedent was
transferred to Kaiser-Sunset due to there being no ICU beds available at Fontara. The decedent was
discharged on August 6, 2010 by the neurosurgery service at Kaiser-Sunset. Several days later, on
August 10, 2010, the decedent went to Kaiser-Fontana complaining of persistent headaches and
nausea secondary to her history of head trauma, Decedent in addition to headaches and nausea,was
also positive for photophobia, dizziness and was nervous and anxious. On August 10, 2010,
decedent underwent another CT scan of the head which revealed a "subacute left frontal subdural
hematoma with a maximal width of 11mm and a 2 mm midline shift compared to study performed
on 8/4/2010." Despite the decedent's condition remaining unchanged for nearly ten days,
Respondent's physicians determined: There is no need for surgery at this, but as a precaution we
recommend hospital admission for observation. We'll repeat a head CT tomorrow, and consider
discharge to home if the repeat scan is stable and the patient is clinically improved."
The CT scan of August 11, 2010, showed a "partial effacement of the left lateral ventricle,
midline shift to the right of apprroximately 3mm at the leval of the third ventricle, and approximately
5 mm in the posterior frontal subfalcine region. There is mild dilatation of the temporal horn of the
right lateral ventricle." The decedent complained of "significant headache and nausea" and what
the physician described as a "sinus infection."
The CT scan of August 12.,2010, performed at 2:08 a.m. was interpreted as showing the size
of the subdural hematoma remaining unchanged. The interpretation further stated: "The subdural
hematoma may be slightly resolving since previous examination," The medical records indicate that
the scan was not read until at about 4:27 p.m. During the half hour following the CT scan of August
12, 2010, without any treatment other than observation, the decedent went into a seizure at 2:30
a.m., and a code blue alert was indicated. On the morning of August 12, 2010, at 3:05 a.m.,
decedent was declared brain dead prior to her organs being harvested several days later.
Petitioners allege Respondents were negligent in the performance of the care and treatment
of the decedent in that they failed to recognize the danger of the physical condition of the decedent,
failed to actively treat the decedant's condition in reducing the ever present pressure on the brain
from the subdural hematoma, allowed the decedent to remain in a physical state which caused her
death while under their direct and immediate care and attention.
As a result of the medical negligence of the Respondents, decedent needlessly died. For
damages from the negligence of Respondents, Petitioners request economic damages for loss of
financial support, familial care, loss of health insurance and other economic benefits, in an amount
as yet undetermined, as well as general damages in the sum of $250,000.00.
DATED: June 6, 2011
DAVID H. RICKS AND ASSOCIATES