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Kaiser to pay $1.8 million in malpractice case

45-year-old man was not diagnosed with cerebral bleeding and later suffered permanent brain damage.
The Orange County Register

Kaiser Permanente will pay $1.8 million to the family of a man who suffered a brain aneurysm after his headache was wrongly attributed to grief.

In 2005, 45-year-old Ted Blackwell visited a Kaiser clinic in Orange County with a headache and neck pain. According to the binding arbitration document, doctors attributed his symptoms to grief over the death of his brother eight days earlier.

He received an injection and was sent home.

Blackwell returned to the clinic two days later, still in pain. According to the document, his daughter requested a CT scan because of her father's disorientation but doctors decided that wasn't necessary.

Two days later, Blackwell collapsed and underwent surgery at Hoag Hospital for bleeding in his brain. He suffered permanent brain damage and is unable to work, according to his attorney James McElroy of Del Mar.

Jim Anderson, a spokesman for Kaiser, expressed sympathy to Blackwell, but added "we thought differently in this or we wouldn't have taken it to arbitration."

The award, decided by arbitrator Robert Devich, covers pain and suffering and lost wages, but the bulk is for around-the-clock supervision for the rest of Blackwell's life.

In California, malpractice judgments are capped at $250,000 for pain and suffering. Additional monetary damages result from loss of wages and need for ongoing care.

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