Child Paralyzed Because of Delayed Diagnosis, Mom Claims
6-7-2016 00:34:00

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A young girl is paralyzed because Kaiser doctors did not diagnose her pharyngitis in time, the girl and her mom claim in Sacramento County Superior Court.

       Kassandra Arreola and her mom Isela Gutierrez sued Dr. Carol Milazzo, Kaitlin Warren CPNP, Dignity Health dba Mercy Folsom Hospital, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

       The plaintiffs say Kassandra was diagnosed with congenital hemivertebra, or wedge-shaped vertebra that can cause an angle in the spine, in June 2015 and again in early August, but the doctors never referred her to a specialist.

       Though many people with hemivertebra have few or no symptoms, severe angulation can cause spine compression resulting in neurologic problems such as leg weakness and urinary incontinence. Spine compression over time can result in paralysis.

       In late August 2015, Gutierrez says she brought her daughter to the emergency room for vomiting and fever, but the treating physician simply gave her pain medication and sent her home.

       The girl’s fever hovered around 103 degrees over the next few days. Another visit to the hospital resulted in the diagnosis of gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the small intestine.

       Although the gastroenteritis resolved, Kassandra’s condition only worsened, her mom says. Though Dr. Milazzo noted an abnormality of her pharynx and diagnosed her with acute pharyngitis or inflammation at the back of the throat, in late September, she merely prescribed antibiotics and pain medication with a followup in six weeks and sent her home.

       By October, Kassandra was paralyzed. Surgery at a different hospital where an inflammatory lesion was removed, revealed that had the doctors treated Kassandra earlier, the paralysis could have been avoided, the complaint states. 

       The plaintiffs seek reimbursement for medical expenses and general damages for medical malpractice.

       They are represented by Joseph Androvich with Poswall, White & Brelsford.