Kaiser Blamed for Deadly Psychotic Episode
By Barbara Wallace
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (CN) - An elderly man killed his wife of 40 years because of Kaiser's poor psychiatric care, he and his brother-in-law claim in Gwinnett County State Court.
Alex Blatt and Murray Deustch, who is decedent Eva Blatt's brother and the executor of her estate, sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Inc., Rick Stallings, M.D. and Phu Thai, M.D. for medical malpractice.
Alex Blatt is now in the Gwinnett County Jail for Eva Blatt's murder, the complaint states.
He had arrived at a Lawrenceville Kaiser facility Nov. 28, 2011, where medical staff noted psychosis, paranoia, delusions, impaired judgment, physical aggression, loose association and racing thoughts. Staff also noted he was anxious, preoccupied, worried about his wife, hyperverbal and manic.
Kaiser staff committed him to non-party Peachford psychiatric hospital where he stayed from Nov. 28, 2011 to Dec. 13, 2011, according to the complaint. He was 70 years old at the time, it states.
On Dec. 2, 2011, Peachford notes indicate that Blatt was transferred to an intensive stabilization unit and placed on round the clock observation for his safety and the safety of staff and patients, according to the complaint. During his hospitalization, Alex Blatt "exhibited erratic behavior and was combative with staff, by kicking and spitting at them," the complaint states.
A non-party doctor "indicated a CT scan might be appropriate. No CT scan was ever performed," according to the complaint. A few days later, another non-party doctor "indicated that since starting Haldol Mr. Blatt seemed less agitated and remained clothed. Prior to that, Mr. Blatt had been refusing to remain clothed," the complaint states.
However, the day after that assessment, Alex Blatt "remained agitated and easily confused. On this date Mr. Blatt's wife Eva called Peachford to advise them of her fear of his being discharged because he was still saying crazy things. Mrs. Blatt was reassured that Mr. Blatt would not be discharged if he was a danger to himself or others," the complaint states.
The next day, Dec. 13, Blatt was discharged with prescriptions for Haldol, Depakote, Zocor and Prilosec, according to the complaint.
A week later he went to a Kaiser facility because of swelling and pain in his feet, and his Haldol prescription was reduced, according to the complaint.
In January 2012, the complaint continues, Blatt saw Kaiser's Dr. Phu Thai who said "that the Haldol was no longer required," and did not prescribe anything else instead.
That same month, Kaiser's Dr. Rick Stallings "consulted with Mr. Blatt and his wife, Eva Blatt, and noted that Mr. Blatt was no longer taking Haldol and took Mr. Blatt off of Depakote," the complaint states.
Dr. Stallings did not prescribe anything else to replace the Haldol or Depakote, either at that appointment or at a Feb. 1 follow-up appointment, according to the complaint.
Also on Feb. 1, "Dr. Stallings noted that no further follow-up was required for 'three months,'" according to the complaint.
"As a result of the lack of follow-up and/or the lack of replacement medication, on or about March 19, 2012, Mr. Blatt had a psychotic episode in which he killed his wife Eva and attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists," the complaint states.
"Mr. Blatt now suffers from severe guilt, anguish, and emotional pain and suffering as a result of his actions while in a severely psychotic state," it continues.
Alex Blatt and Murray Deutsch seek punitive damages and a jury trial. They are represented by James R. Hodes and Esther Panitch of The Panitch Law Group in Atlanta.