Kaiser Doctor Hid Botched Surgery, Woman Says
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – A Kaiser surgeon hid a botched a cornea transplant by operating on the patient in her office, the woman claims in Alameda County Superior Court.
Glendean Walker sued Dr. Yun Liu and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals on Wednesday, March 23.
Walker says she went to the hospital on March 18, 2014 to have DSEK cornea transplant surgery.
DSEK, or Descemet's Stripping with Endothelial Keratoplasty, is a fairly new procedure that removes only the damaged cells instead of the whole cornea, allowing patients to heal much faster than they would with a standard corneal transplant, according to the Cleveland Eye Clinic’s website.
During the procedure, the damaged inner lining of the cornea is removed and replaced with the lining from a donor cornea, which is folded and placed inside the eye. An air bubble then pushes it into place, making stitches unnecessary, the website states.
During Walker’s procedure, however, Dr. Liu lost the new piece of cornea in the patient’s eye, according to the complaint.
Worse still, instead of telling Walker the specimen was lost in her eye, Liu dismissed the staff in the operating room and told Walker to follow her to her office, according to the complaint.
Once there, Liu “proceeded to pull, push, and otherwise perform undisclosed medical procedures on plaintiff in order to find and reset plaintiff’s displaced cornea. Defendant did this procedure without sedatives or tools, which were left in the surgery room. Defendant even placed stitches in plaintiff’s eye without informed consent,” the complaint states.
Then, though Liu knew Walker needed a second opinion, “Dr. Liu left for China in order to avoid plaintiff’s care” without referring her to anyone else, according to the complaint.
Kaiser “allowed defendant Liu to perform an unsuccessful surgery on plaintiff so as to lose the cornea specimen in plaintiff’s eye,” despite knowing from Liu’s past performance that she was incompetent, the complaint states.
Kaiser also knew Walker could not get a second opinion without its authorization, but “refused to grant plaintiff access to a second medical professional until March 26, 2015,” thus concealing Liu’s fraud, according to the complaint.
“Defendant also failed to have Dr. Liu provide proper follow-up treatment for plaintiff, such that the stitches remained in plaintiff’s eye an entire year,” the complaint states.
Thanks to Kaiser and Dr. Liu, Walker says, she went through numerous follow-up surgical procedures, and had severe pain, loss of vision and emotional distress from March 18, 2014 through March 26, 2015.
“Kaiser deliberately disregarded plaintiff’s health and caused plaintiff to suffer irreparable injury to her eye,” the complaint states.
Walker sues for medical malpractice; battery; fraud; negligent hiring, training, retention and supervision; and breach of contract. She seeks hospital and medical expenses, general damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
She is represented by Richard Richardson with the Law Office of Joel H. Siegal of San Francisco.