Cat Bite Victim Seeks $5 Million
10-22-2014 22:48:00

     WASHINGTON - A cat bite victim seeks $5 million in District of Columbia Superior Court, saying her infected foot got worse while Kaiser delayed hospitalizing her.

     Leisa Bush-Yillah sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Inc., non-Kaiser MedStar Washington Hospital Center and one Kaiser doctor, Heidi R. Crimson, M.D.
     According to Bush-Yillah’s pro se lawsuit, she went to Kaiser’s North Capitol Urgent Care Center for a cat bite on her foot, in July 2011. A non-party doctor prescribed an antibiotic, it says. When it did not get better, the doctor consulted with Kaiser’s infectious disease unit which recommended changing to a different antibiotic and hospitalizing her if it still did not improve, according to the complaint.
     The following afternoon, Bush-Yillah noticed that the pain had gone away but the redness and swelling had spread, according to the complaint. She went back to the Urgent Care Center and saw Dr. Heidi Crimson, according to the complaint. Dr. Crimson gave her intravenous antibiotics and told her to come back at 10:00 p.m. for more, according to the complaint.
     When Bush-Yillah came back that night, the complaint says, Dr. Crimson “stated that she conferred with one of Kaiser’s infectious disease (ID) doctors and some recommendations were made,” but did not mention that the infectious disease doctor had recommended hospitalization. (Parentheses in complaint.)
     According to the complaint, Dr. Crimson talked to Medstar hospital about admitting Bush-Yillah there, but it did not happen until three days later. In the meantime, Bush-Yillah spent many hours in and out of Kaiser’s Urgent Care Center being treated with different kinds of antibiotics which did not rein in the infection. One doctor sent her to a podiatrist, according to the complaint, while another “recommended that plaintiff take the cat to the vet to determine the type of bacteria since they were unable to identify it,” the complaint states.
     Two days after her initial visit, Bush-Yilla saw a doctor from Kaiser’s infectious disease unit who “shook his head and informed plaintiff that he told them on Tuesday to hospitalize the plaintiff. He gave the plaintiff his card,” the complaint states.
     A few hours later, yet another doctor saw her and “Kaiser decided to slit the wounds in an effort to release fluid. The procedure [did not have] positive results,” the complaint states. She was told to come back in 24 hours for more antibiotics, according to the complaint. When she did so, she saw a doctor she had not yet seen, who “determined that she be admitted immediately” as had been recommended three days earlier, according to the complaint.
     Bush-Yillah was then admitted to Medstar, where she waited five hours for a room which was “clearly unclean and dingy,” the complaint states.
     The three intravenous antibiotics Bush-Yillah was now taking caused a burning sensation in her veins which ice packs did not help, according to the complaint. “In addition to the intense pain, the medication was so strong that plaintiff had severe loose bowels to the extent that she was going to the restroom at least every hour around the clock,” the complaint states.
     Bush-Yillah says a visitor who was a nurse “read the labels on the IV drips and he later told her that the drugs in the IV drips were powerful enough to kill all the bacteria (good and bad) in her entire body. Other friends who came to visit commented on the unsanitary conditions at [Medstar].” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     “In addition to plaintiff’s bathroom issues, it was very difficult to maintain good hygiene. There was no shower and she shared a room with three different ladies during her stay – one of which coughed constantly. Plaintiff was informed by the fellow patient that she had TB,” the complaint states.
     Bush-Yillah says she had surgery at Medstar, after which she had balance and gait problems that have continued to this day. After being discharged, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she says, which she attributes to Kaiser and Medstar’s inadequate treatment of her cat bite.
     In addition to $5 million, Leisa Bush-Yilla seeks a jury trial.