Kaiser Doctors Were “Unfamiliar With CPR,” Grieving Family Claims
1-20-2015 23:11:00

MODESTO, Calif. (CN) – A man died because Kaiser doctors and other staff were “unfamiliar with CPR,” his family claims in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

     Kathleen Eshelman and John Eshelman sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Northern California Permanente Medical Group, four doctors and a respiratory therapist. Kathleen and John Eshelman are the widow and son of William Eshelman, and sued as individuals and as his successors-in-interest. They allege professional negligence, wrongful death, negligent hiring, training and supervision, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, intentional misrepresentation and unfair business practices.
     According to the lawsuit, William Eshelman went to Kaiser’s emergency room on Dec. 31, 2013 with a sore throat, a fever, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. He had been ill for three days and had a history of sleep apnea, it says. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted, it says.
     Around 7:15 the next morning, someone from Kaiser called Kathleen Eshelman and “informed Kathleen Eshelman that they wanted to intubate" her husband, it states.
     After three botched attempts, at least two of which had the tube going into his esophagus, the attending staff declared a “code blue,” the complaint continues.
     “Although an anesthesiologist was finally called during the code blue, one wasn’t readily available, and it would be some time before one arrived,” it states.
     The doctors and respiratory therapist working on Eshelman “were unfamiliar with how to properly re-intubate decedent and were unfamiliar with CPR and were forced to wait many critical minutes for a qualified professional to arrive, during which time decedent’s condition continued to deteriorate. By the time the anesthesiologist finally arrived on the scene and was able to successfully intubate decedent using a glide scope, decedent suffered irreversible and permanent injuries,” the complaint states.
     Kathleen Eshelman got a second phone call around 7:45 telling her to come to Kaiser Modesto immediately, it continues.
     “On Jan. 1, 2014, upon arriving at Kaiser Hospital, plaintiff Kathleen Eshelman was informed by a male nurse that when they tried to intubate her husband he went into a code blue. That same nurse also informed plaintiff Kathleen Eshelman that although an anesthesiologist normally performs the type of intubation that was performed on her husband, no anesthesiologist was available, and as a consequence, the intubation was not performed by an anesthesiologist. The nurse further told Mrs. Eshelman that they did not have enough personnel to perform CPR and were forced to wait until qualified people finally arrived to do so. Although the nurse told Mrs. Eshelman that they were waiting for decedent to wake up, decedent was in a coma,” the complaint states.
     William Eshelman did not regain consciousness and died on Jan. 3, according to the complaint.
     Kathleen and John Eshelman seek general, special and punitive damages, prejudgment interest, costs of suit and attorneys’ fees. They are represented by Carl A. McMahan and John W. Shaller of McMahan Law in Los Angeles.