Kaiser Whiffs Tennis Ball-Sized Tumor, Boy Says
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – Kaiser did not diagnose a four-year-old boy’s brain tumor until it was about as big as tennis ball, the boy and his parents claim in Orange County Superior Court.
Isaak Barnes sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; California Permanente Medical Group; Lynn Hoang MD; Suresh G. Gurbani MD; Altaf Mohammad Kazi MD; Andrew Song DO and Dan H. Chikami OD on Wednesday, March 23.
His mother, Leandra Navarro and father, Stephen Jermaine Barnes, are not named as guardians ad litem in the complaint. Isaak’s twin brother is Shawn Barnes.
Isaak Barnes claims Kaiser misdiagnosed him for months though he exhibited the classic signs of a brain tumor.
Though symptoms can vary by location, many people experience severe headache, blurry vision, loss of balance and coordination, mental confusion, seizures, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty speaking, according to a PDF compilation of information from the Mayo Clinic and other medical sources.
Isaak’s dad brought him to Lakeview Medical Offices on Feb. 28, 2012, the day after a spell in which “he wasn’t himself, as he was staring and repeating himself when asked questions; stuck in a position of staring to the side; had a temperature of 101; and vomited,” the complaint states.
Instead of assessing Isaak for brain injury, he says, Dr. Kazi, his treating physician that day, advised plenty of rest and clear liquids, acetaminophen for the fever, and a few teaspoons of honey for his cough, and sent him home.
Almost two weeks later, Isaak’s mom took him back to the doctor’s office for vomiting, headaches, and light sensitivity, where Dr. Song diagnosed him with migraine headaches, according to the complaint.
The pattern continued, with Isaak’s symptoms getting steadily worse until mid-May that year, when he was seen by Dr. Ashish Manilal Mehta in Yorba Linda, the complaint states.
Dr. Mehta is not a party to the complaint.
After noting Isaak’s symptoms, Dr. Mehta ordered an MRI of his eyes and brain, which showed a “7.3 x 6.2 x 4.6 cm mixed cystic and solid mass occupying the majority of the left cerebellum,” a region at the base of the brain that controls motor function, the complaint states.
Two days later the tumor was surgically removed, and later tests confirmed that it was not malignant, according to the complaint.
Thanks to the delay in removal of the tumor, Isaak now has difficulty writing, spelling, and blending sounds and is among the lowest scoring students in his class. Since his twin brother is doing fine, Isaak says, his learning difficulties and neurological problems are clearly a direct result of the tumor’s compressing normal tissue.
Also, though his parents tried to get Isaak evaluated and treated by a non-Kaiser pediatric neurologist, Kaiser refused to refer him out despite the conflict of interest, according to the complaint.
Failing to timely diagnose his brain tumor has condemned Isaak to incurring expenses for treatment of his life-long disabilities, the complaint states.
Isaak seeks general, economic, and punitive damages for medical malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty.
He is represented by John Drooyan of San Pedro.