Kaiser Accused of Saying 'Redheads Bleed More'
By Barbara Wallace
ROSEVILLE, Calif. (CN) - Kaiser staff dismissed "blood pouring uncontrollably out of" a patient's hand during surgery and "unbearable" pain afterward by saying "redheads bleed more," she claims in Placer County Superior Court.
Deborah Kossick woke up during surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome to see "blood pouring uncontrollably out of her hand and extremity, while there was chaos amongst the staff conducting the surgery, one of which kept yelling, 'we can't give her any more medication,'" she says in her complaint.
"Several days after the surgery, plaintiff was in unbearable and uncontrollable pain in her right hand," which was swollen and blackened, the complaint continues. Kossick says she "advised defendants that the pain was unbearable, and she believed that something had gone wrong during the surgery, as there was too much blood. Defendants advised plaintiff that she had nothing to worry about because 'redheads bleed more' than other patients."
At a follow-up appointment with her surgeon, Steven Hatton Ryder, M.D., a month after the operation, Kossick says she complained of continuing pain, swelling and discoloration of her hand. "Defendant showed no sympathy or concern whatsoever, and, instead, told her that there was nothing more he could do for her," she says.
"To this date, plaintiff Deborah Kossick continues to be in an extreme amount of pain in her right hand, which is now permanent. The hand is also swollen and blackened, which will impact her ability to work and care for herself for the remainder of her life," according to the complaint.
Plaintiff seeks general, special and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit. Her husband, Robert Kossick, sued for loss of consortium. They are represented by David M. Poore of Brown Poore in Walnut Creek, Calif.