Skip to comments.Family Who Sued Kaiser After Daughter’s Death Fights Law That Limits Malpractice Payout
Posted on 01/16/2014 10:15:30 AM PST by BenLurkin
BALDWIN PARK (CBSLA.com) A family who sued Kaiser Permanente Medical Center after the death of their 10-year-old daughter is outraged over a law that limits the payout in a malpractice suit.
Dekel Zelig said his wife took their daughter, Daniela, to Kaiser in Baldwin Park after the youngster wasnt feeling well in March 2012.
She was vomiting, she was nauseous, she had a fever, she didnt feel good, Zelig said.
The father said the doctor sent Daniela home without monitoring her blood pressure or taking an X-ray. He said the doctor checked his daughters lungs with a stethoscope on top of her jacket.
She said shes got the flu, she gave her some Tylenol, they went back home, Zelig said.
The next morning, however, Danielas little brother found her in bedlifeless.
She died the next morning in the house, Zelig said.
Zelig said an autopsy in the morgue revealed the truth.
He told us she had probably five days pneumonia prior coming to the doctor, Zelig said.
CBS2s Stacey Butler reported that the Zelig family decided to sue Kaiser, but most attorneys wouldnt take their case.
For the loss of a loved one in terms of the loss of love and comfort is $250,000. Thats been the law for the last 39 years, attorney Jin Lew said.
Zelig wasnt entitled to more money because of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which limits the payout in a malpractice suit if a non-wage earning family member is killed.
Its outrageous. Its unbelievable. Its a joke. Its adding insult to injury, Zelig said.
Zelig and his attorney plan to take the fight against the MICRA cap to legislature.
In a statement, Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Sandra Hernandez-Millett said, Our deepest sympathies go out to the Zelig family for the passing of their daughter Daniela. Especially following a tragedy like this, we review our care to ensure that we are taking all appropriate steps to provide high quality care. We reinforce our commitment to our patients health, to delivering quality care, and to continuous quality improvement.
“In a statement, Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Sandra Hernandez-Millett said, Our deepest sympathies go out to the Zelig family for the passing of their daughter Daniela. Especially following a tragedy like this, we review our care to ensure that we are taking all appropriate steps to provide high quality care. We reinforce our commitment to our patients health, to delivering quality care, and to continuous quality improvement.”
This is Kaiser! When you go to the Medicare, web page, I lists Kaiser as the “best” of all the Medicare insurance options (nothing else garners five stars). That tells you all you need to know about Kaiser. Kaiser is as close to the British Healthcare System as you can get in this country (for now).
Under the new ACA, will people even be able to sue if the healthcare provider is just following government regulations and procedures?
I had Kaiser for years. OK for routine care, but I would not trust them for anything other than that. My Doctor even agreed that it was foolish that she had to follow their procedures rather than use her own discretion.
Kaiser...used to be the best!
Are you saying....the Doctor treating you...didn’t have the x-ray results within a day or two?
There is always more to a story than the suing ambulance chaser’s version.
Crocodile tears for the victims, and support for the cynical, greedy ambulance chasers, that’s the ticket.
Years ago the attorney general forced Kaiser out of Texas..... For good reason!
This is the kind of article that raises more questions than it answers. Or maybe it’s just that it is so terribly written.
What is “five days pneumonia” - does he mean she had pneumonia for 5 days? Why didn’t the parents seek treatment earlier? Why don’t they have a regular doctor they use?
It is true that some kinds pneumonia can quickly overwhelm even a healthy person and even cause their death - Jim Henson was a famous victim of this. It may be that nothing could have helped this girl.
As to the law, if it has really been the law for 39 years I don’t see why this is news, because there must have been many, many cases like this over that time.
I probably sound unsympathetic, but I’m not. I’d be ready to sue, sue, sue if this happened to my child. I hope that the poor girl may rest in peace and that the Good Lord will comfort her family.
It’s stuff like MICRA (which was signed into law by Jerry Brown, btw) that make me of two minds when it comes to medical tort reform.
I have no problem with reducing the incentive for frivolous and excessive lawsuits as a means to ease malpractice insurance costs. But I also know there are genuine cases of gross malpractice - surgeons who amputate the wrong leg, etc. I’m not so sure these bad docs and hospitals ought to be able to hide behind some cap to limit their liability.
At any rate, RIP to this young girl, and prayers up for the family.
I have Kaiser and trust me, if you have something seriously wrong with you you don’t want to go to Kaiser to get treated..they are good for the basic stuff, and there are some really good doctors there(Had my Colonoscopy there with a superb doc) but NEVER EVER go to Urgent Care, you mind as well find a hobo on the street to treat you
I’m guessing you’re not familiar with Kaiser Permanente.
It’s a humongous HMO, bordering on what socialist medicine would look like.
Inexperienced, pill-pushing doctors (Kaiser has it’s own pharmacy) with extremely full schedules. No provision for extraordinary ailments. They are loathe to do any costly testing. Communication is poor. Bureaucracy is enormous. Waits are long.
And they repeatedly called one of my family members to try to bully her into aborting her son because there was a remote possibility that he might inherit hemophilia. She didn’t and he didn’t.
“I probably sound unsympathetic, but Im not. Id be ready to sue, sue, sue if this happened to my child. I hope that the poor girl may rest in peace and that the Good Lord will comfort her family.”
I completely understand what you are saying. My comment was related to the “quality of care” the child received. My limited experiences with Kaiser leave me with the notion that they don’t provide quality care, and this is an example. Kaiser is also problematic if you are forced to go to their ER and you are not a “member.” I had a situation where I took and injured neighbor to Kaiser. They refused to treat the injury, but would not let us take the injured party to another hospital. They insisted that she be transported via ambulance! Just disgraceful!
“Jim Henson was a famous victim of this.”
Jim Henson of “Muppets” fame? As I recall, he died of pneumonia as a result of AIDS. Nothing would have helped him if that is true.
I have had them for 30 years. A Kaiser surgeon, who teaches at Stanford, performed an extremely risky operation on my husband who is now fit as a fiddle. We both had Kaiser and a $300,000 surgery and a week in intensive care, plus two weeks in rehab, plus three months of infusions cost us NOTHING. No deductible, no co-pay, nothing other than our reasonable premium with employer coverage.
My only complaint is that I had to wait two months for back surgery because, while the doctor was available, an operating room was not. I finally complained to member services and was operated on the next day. I know people have Kaiser horror stories, but my experience has been good.
What is the difference between Group Health and Kaiser? We had the Group Health PPO for years and it was excellent. Then, one time my husband needed to go to an emergency room when he was out of town, and called a cab. The cab driver asked what hospital he wanted to go to and my husband said that he didn’t know, the closest, just the closest one. The cabbie said, well, Kaiser is just around the corner, but you don’t want to go there unless you want to die. He took him to Long Beach Memorial instead.
When my husband spoke to the Group health insurer, they asked why he didn’t go to Kaiser. We didn’t even know that we were supposed to go Kaiser.
Otherwise, Group Health was excellent. We had our pick of local doctors and access to the best specialists in Seattle.
Exactly. Normally, they send you to X-Ray and have you come back to the waiting room for results before deciding on treatment. They dropped the ball on that step. I was told to go to X-ray and they would call me for a follow up. The call came Dec 23rd.
I'd of been pushy about getting my results....but that's just me. Heck...I'm pushy about results...on people I'm not related to.
Concur. Limit the payout to the layers, but don’t cap the actual payout to those type of cases (IE: wrong let/etc.)
In this case, IMHO, there appears to be plenty of blame to go around (family doctor seen?)
“And they repeatedly called one of my family members to try to bully her into aborting her son....”
I hope she gave them hell and I’m glad her baby was OK.
No, I’m on the east coast, we don’t have these fine providers on this side of the country.
And thank goodness!
I am so sorry about your son.
I love Kaiser...never have had a problem. My sister and myself were born a Kaiser and my daughters were born at Kaiser. No complaints here...
I have never read or heard anything about Jim Henson having AIDS, so I looked him up on wikipedia.
There seems no reason to think that he had AIDS or had any underlying issue that would have led him to contract it. He was married and had 5 children, he was not a hemophiliac, and was not a drug addict.
Here is the final statement from wiki re: the cause of death “The official cause of death was first reported as Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterial infection. Bacterial pneumonia is usually caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, an alpha-hemolytic species of Streptococcus. Henson’s cause of death, however, was organ failure resulting from streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (caused by Streptococcus pyogenes). S. pyogenes is the bacterial species that causes strep throat, scarlet fever and rheumatic fever. It can also cause other infections.”
There is a longer discussion about it, his wife is quoted to the effect that his Christian Science upbringing might have had some influence on his reluctance to seek care earlier.
However, it does appear I was wrong about the type of disease he had (this medical stuff and there’s plenty of links in the piece - is a little beyond me), as he was sick for sometime before he died.
Sometimes young (or in Henson’s case younger) people do die of diseases and there is no good explanation for why it happened. Sadly I’ve known a few people to whom this happened. It’s very difficult on them and their families.
You recall incorrectly. Henson died as the result of a streptoccal infection. He'd had symptoms for a couple of weeks and ignored them.
Caps on malpractice payouts is one of the GOP’s proposals for reducing the cost of health care. The child’s death is a tragedy but a multi-million dollar malpractice payout is not going to bring her back.
Problem is, greedy plaintiff lawyers are shameless in their demands for “care, comfort and society” awards.
The MICRA caps are a good thing — and a similar cap is needed for all wrongful death actions.
Please see my post #29
Not true. I was there.
He had overwhelming pneumococcal pneumonia and went from healthy to dead in about 6 hours.
If he had AIDS, it’s news to all the people at New York Hospital who took care of him.
Me too. There was nothing to be done about it aside from warning others about the danger of Z-Pak for cardiac patients. Vanderbilt University published a study about the danger just 5 hours after my son passed. Z-Pak extends to the QT interval and in some patients that extends to the point of sudden cardiac death. There were 235 documented cases in the study. We coughed up $5,000 for his basic cremation and a memorial service. The only thing a "settlement" might offer is funds to properly inter his ashes. My brother-in-law died in Jan 2012 and took the "spare" space with my mother-in-law. We had to pay for his cremation/interment ahead of my son. It was a bad start to 2012.
I think that you may be thinking of someone else.
Kaiser was NEVER the best. They ALWAYS have been known as a cheap and cheesey HMO.
Many years ago they misdiagnosed my brothers appendicitis and prescribed a laxative. That advice is counter to what I, as a Boy Scout, knew of first aid. We didn't administer a laxative.
Twelve hours later my brother was operated on and had his ready-to-burst appendix removed.
Years later an ambulance was rear-ended in a nearby town. The driver of the ambulance was transported by the second ambulance to a Kaiser hospital despite the driver's vehement protestations.
X-rays at the hospital showed no injuries, so the driver was released to go home. Several days later the ailing driver was diagnosed with a fractured spine using the x-ray taken by Kaiser.
I know of another Kaiser patient who was recovering from Guy-Barre syndrome, which can cause total paralysis. Although he almost died one time when the nurse failed to notice that his trach tube had become detached, he was still appreciative of the otherwise excellent care provided by Kaiser during his treatment and rehabilitation.
The lesson I learned from this is that one must be thoroughly convinced of the diagnosis independent of Kaiser before one should submit to their procedures.
I have selected alternatives to Kaiser my entire adult life and will continue to do so.
The information was provided by the MSM back when I was listening to the MSM.
Frankly I never had it...but seems to me back in the late 70's early 80's folks swore by Kaiser Insurance.
Now....when I was still in SoCal in the mid-90's they sucked....at least according to my co-worker's.
Glad you are okay....
Yeah. He got sick walking on York Avenue, fortunately right by NYH, unfortunately with a very bad strain of Strep. pneumoniae.
Jim Henson died of pneumonia because he was a Christian Scientist and they dont do modern medicinr.
Ditto! Is more than 250,000 going to bring their daughter back? NOT!
This is precisely why we now have government health care! What the hell
Is anyone going to get when they nave to sue the government which will
not be allowed! It is a shame this girl passed however no amount of money will bring her back! She was sick long before parents brought her
to the doctor how much responsibility should they have in her passing?