Kaiser Refused to Treat Herniated Discs, Man Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kaiser doctors refused to treat a man’s spinal injury, calling him a malingering criminal, he claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Wesley Kingsbury, 34, sued Southern California Permanente Medical Group for business and professions code violations, medical negligence and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. for breach of good faith and fair dealing, breach of contract and business and professions code violations; and two doctors, Dr. Teri Veith and Dr. Lisa Patrick, for medical negligence and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
According to Kingsbury’s complaint, he and his father were in a car accident on the morning of Nov. 6, 2013, through no fault of their own. Kingsbury went straight to Kaiser’s Fontana hospital afterwards, he says.
While Kingsbury waited to been seen, first at the urgent care department and then at the emergency room, pain in his left leg expanded to include both legs, in addition to numbness and weakness, to the extent that he needed help walking, he says. An MRI revealed two herniated disks and a nurse told him he needed to be admitted to the hospital, yet Dr. Veith sent him home, he says.
“Wesley was and is not a criminal but was scheduled to testify in a criminal trial on the morning of his accident. When he did not appear, because of his neurologic injury and appearance at the Kaiser ER, the court presiding over the criminal matter, so informed, called Kaiser and expressed its unhappiness that a witness scheduled to appear had not appeared. The court told the ER staff that Wesley was a witness in a case in which he was a potential defendant, and indicated that the court wanted Wesley to come to court the next morning to testify,” the complaint states.
“After the nurse left, Dr. Veith came into Wesley’s room and tore off a cervical collar that was around his neck. She told him that there was nothing wrong with him, that he was a faking his injuries and that he was a criminal. She then told him that the hospital was discharging him and he had to leave,” the complaint states.
The next day, a Kaiser doctor called Kingsbury to ask why he had not had a cast put on a fractured elbow Kingsbury had not known he had, the complaint says. “This doctor initially wanted Wesley to come in immediately to have his elbow casted. But on looking at a chart record indicating that the court had called, and the opinion that Wesley may be faking symptoms, the doctor told him to wait until the following day, when Wesley was to see his general practitioner,” it continues.
The next day, Kingsbury got a cast on his elbow, he says. He was now having urinary trouble, and could not urinate at all by the end of the day, he says. His general practitioner sent him back to the emergency room where he had a catheter inserted and saw Dr. Lisa Patrick, he says.
“Instead of searching for the root of his urination problem, she told him that he was faking the urination issue and that everyone in the ER knew that he was a criminal trying to avoid court,” the complaint states.
Five days after the accident, the complaint continues, Kingsbury saw neurologist who told him, a few minutes into her examination, that there was nothing wrong with him. Kingsbury attributes her reaction to the note in his record, “indicating that Wesley was a malingering criminal,”
Nine days after the accident, Kingsbury saw an orthopedist and viewed part of his electronic medical records, he says. “Wesley’s record stated that he was a criminal faking symptoms,” the complaint states.
Kingsbury ultimately had to go to another Kaiser facility in a different county to get treatment for his herniated disks, he claims. If surgery had been performed sooner, he not would have the nerve damage he now has, which has caused permanent bladder problems and impotence, he contends.
Wesley Kingsbury seeks special, general and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, litigation costs, injunctive relief and a jury trial. He is represented by Scott C. Glovsky and Arlan A. Cohen in Pasadena.