Known Allergen Causes Life-Threatening Disease, Man Claims
FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) – A man claims Kaiser prescribed him medication it knew he was allergic to, and he developed a life-threatening skin condition, in a complaint filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Robert L. Gardner Jr. filed a pro se complaint against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group on Sept. 15.
Gardner says he saw his doctor for sinus congestion and pain, and was diagnosed with acute sinusitis and given a prescription for cefuroxime axetil, a generic form of the antibiotic drug Ceftin.
After taking the medication as directed for one day, he woke up the next morning with a skin rash on his body and face. Concerned that he was having an allergic reaction, Gardner says, he called Kaiser and made an appointment with his doctor for later that morning.
His doctor confirmed that it was an allergic reaction and tried to get him seen by someone in the dermatology department, but it was overbooked that day and no one could see him until three days later, according to the complaint.
By the time his appointment came up, Gardner says, he was in such bad condition that his spouse had to drive him there. The doctor took one look at him and told him to go to the emergency room, from which he was later transferred by ambulance to the Washington Med-Star Trauma Center.
The doctors there conducted a battery of blood and skin tests, and concluded that the allergic reaction to the antibiotic had caused a condition called Steven Johnsons syndrome, a potentially life-threatening skin disorder that starts with flu-like symptoms, develops into a rash, and ultimately kills the top layer of the affected skin, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Though he was sent home after five days in the hospital, the disease comes with lingering side effects like blurry vision, chronic fatigue, depression, and gastrointestinal problems, from which he continues to suffer, according to the complaint.
Gardner says his patient history clearly states that he has been allergic to ampicillin for over 10 years. Kaiser should therefore have known not to prescribe him Ceftin, which is a similar drug and therefore not appropriate for someone with an ampicillin allergy, the complaint states.
He seeks $950,000 in damages for medical malpractice.