Kaiser Permanente / mis-diagnosis, malpractice
My husband, Rick Virgen, had just turned 51 when he was misdiagnosed and died at Kaiser in Fontana, CA. I want to tell his story in the hopes of preventing this from happening to others and to try and get Kaiser to change the way that they treat people. I think that you will be shocked by this story.
We took my husband to Kaiser because he had pain in his side. He was diagnosed and told that he needed to have his gallbladder removed. They tried to operate but he started having other issues and they stopped the operation. We were then told he had heart problems but they didn’t know what or why. The next morning he was dead. On his death certificate they put that it was from a pulmonary embolism and liver failure from an unknown reason.
After the county performed an autopsy we learned he did die from the pulmonary embolism but also a disease called Hemochromatosis (excess iron in the blood). We later learned that the pulmonary embolism had been found by a test 13 hours before death but Kaiser never treated it!
The Hemochromatosis had been diagnosed about 10 years before, but we were never told about it and they never treated it! The treatment is a simple letting of the blood, but they didn’t bother. He didn’t have gallbladder problems or liver failure.
I learned about the Hemochromatosis when I requested a copy of his medical records. Almost every page showed “Abnormal” test results over the last 10 years. “Abnormal” was in big red letters over and over on the pages. Why hadn’t we ever been told? Why did they never treat him? I have no answers to these questions and neither does Kaiser.
My brother-in-law went to his Kaiser doctor after my husband died and asked to be tested for Hemochromatosis. He was told that he did not have the disease. He then changed his insurance. His new doctor tested him and found that he did have it. Kaiser had misdiagnosed him as well.
If all of this wasn’t bad enough, I then learned that all Kaiser patients are bound by an arbitration agreement. Even if you didn’t sign one, your employer can sign on your behalf.
Even more insulting is that under California law, the most that you can get for the wrongful death is $250, 000. Yes, that is two hundred and fifty thousand! You will then split that by approximately 40% with an attorney. That is, if you can even find an attorney to take your case. Of course, Kaiser will not want to even pay you the maximum and will try to low ball and haggle over the dollar amount. After all they are in “business” and want to protect their shareholders. I suggest they just focus on practicing good medicine!
We all hear that we need to be proactive with our healthcare. Whatever you are doing, it is not enough. Keeping appointments and asking questions is not enough. Not all doctors let you know when test results are bad. You need to ask for actual test results (get the numbers) and look into it yourself. You also need to request a copy of your medical record and read for yourself what the doctor has written. I was shocked to find information that we were never told about and comments about his personality and looks.
The system is broken. I want Kaiser to change the way they treat patients. Help me to let Kaiser know that what they are doing is not acceptable.
Please help us by doing two things:
1 Forward this on to everyone you know
2 Email me a letter for Kaiser and let them know that you don’t agree with
their business practices. Kaiser customer service does not even have an email
address! I guess they are not that concerned with providing customer service.
I have attached a sample letter if you would like to use it. I will make sure that
all letters get into Kaiser’s hands. Please email me at:
I appreciate any help you can give on this matter.
Tina Virgen and family
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