Kaiser Denied Life Flight, Husband Died, Widow Claims
CLEVELAND (CN) - Kaiser cancelled her husband’s Life Flight transfer although Marymount Hospital said he needed critical care transport to the Cleveland Clinic, and he died as a result, his widow alleges in a complaint filed in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
Holly Gray, as administrator of the estate of Robert Gray, sued Marymount Hospital Inc., the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Vijaykant R. Patel, M.D., Emergency Care Specialists, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Permanente Ohio, Catholic Health Partners, Aaron R. Smith, M.D., Maan Fares, M.D. and Ohio Permanente Medical Group Inc.
The complaint says that Robert Gray, 36, was admitted to Marymount Hospital’s emergency department with chest pain on Sept. 30, 2011. “Decedent’s health history was significant for prior treatment for atherosclerosis and stenosis and a strong family history of premature coronary artery disease,” it says. Dr. Vijaykant Patel attended Mr. Gray and reported his electrocardiogram readings to a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, who recommended transferring him via Life Flight, according to the complaint.
However, the complaint says that when the Cleveland Clinic realized Mr. Gray was a Kaiser patient, it contacted Kaiser for authorization of the Life Flight. “Kaiser’s emergency room physician, defendant Smith, and cardiologist, defendant Fares, determined decedent’s condition did not merit critical care transport,” and told the Cleveland Clinic to cancel the Life Flight, although it was en route and almost ready to land at Marymount Hospital, the complaint says.
Instead of the Life Flight, Kaiser sent American Medical Response (AMR), which the complaint says “is only ‘Advanced Cardiac Life Support’ certified, and as such, does not have the necessary equipment to provide mobile intensive care.”
“While decedent was being prepared for transfer, his heart rate dropped, thereby necessitating additional medical intervention by defendants Marymount and/or Patel,” the complaint says. At that point, Marymount asked the Cleveland Clinic to send the Life Flight back, “however, due to deteriorating weather conditions, the Life Flight was no longer available,” according to the complaint.
The complaint continues: Mr. Gray “went into full cardiac arrest during ground transport via AMR. As AMR was without sufficient training to provide appropriate medical care and/or had inadequate or defective equipment, the paramedics/emergency medical technicians called the Cuyahoga Heights Police Department for assistance. A Cuyahoga Heights Fire Department ambulance was dispatched, and upon arrival found decedent to be in full arrest on a stretcher in the back of defendant’s ambulance. CPR was performed, and decedent was shocked 2-3 times and received 2-3 doses of EPI and one dose of Lidocaine with no success,” and was pronounced dead at (non-party) MetroHealth Medical Center.
Plaintiff is represented by Thomas L. Brunn, Jr. and Alison D. Ramsey of the Brunn Law Firm in Cleveland.