Grieving Daughters Blame Kaiser for Overdose
7-5-2019 23:45:00

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – A woman died of an overdose while her doctor was on probation for overprescribing opiates, her daughters claim in Riverside County Superior Court.

Marta Ann-Marie Mathews and Katherine Joyce Woodward sued Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Southern California Permanente Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Michael Simental, M.D. for wrongful death and medical malpractice.

The women claim their mother, Bonita Joslen, died of an opioid overdose on June 28, 2018, while under Simentel’s care, while Simentel was on probation for overprescribing opioids. (Joslen’s husband Robert Joslen is also named as a nominal defendant.)

“The Kaiser defendants knew that Simental was a licensed physician and practiced family medicine and had no specialty in pain management medicine or psychiatry,” the complaint states.

“The Kaiser defendants also knew that Simental had a disciplinary history with the Medical Board of California (MBC) involving the excessive prescribing of narcotics,” it continues.

“Specifically, in Dec. 2016, in case number 18-2012-226103, Simentel was disciplined by the MBC for gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, prescribing without appropriate prior examination and medical indication, and repeated acts of clearly excessive prescribing. Simental was placed on probation with the MBC for a period of two years, as of Dec. 22, 2016. The disciplinary order stemmed from an accusation charging that Simental, while employed at the same Kaiser Permanente facility in Riverside, excessively prescribed narcotic and other controlled drugs to at least three patients,” it states.

“Despite knowing about Simentel’s disciplinary probation with the MBC the Kaiser defendants allowed Simentel to continue working as one of their physicians and allowed him to prescribe opioids and other narcotics without any type of oversight or restrictive protocols to protect their patients from the same acts Simentel was disciplined for by the MBC,” it says.

Between July 18, 2015 and May 18, 2018, Simentel prescribed Joslen 28 prescriptions for hydromorphone, 23 prescriptions for morphine and 11 prescriptions for temazepam, the sisters claim.

“As a a direct and proximate cause of these acts, plaintiffs lost forever, their mother,” the lawsuit says.

Marta Ann-Marie Mathews and Katherine Joyce Woodward seek general and special damages, funeral and burial expenses, costs of suit and a jury trial. They are represented by Andre Rekte of Rekte Bradshaw in Victorville.