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Kaiser Heart Attack/Stroke Information & Cases

Prevention requires timely and accurate diagnosis. When heart attack or stroke is the threat, prevention through timely and accurate diagnosis is not only valuable, it is essential. Walkup attorneys have extensive experience representing Kaiser members and their families in cases where Kaiser professionals misdiagnosed heart conditions, or ignored the results of tests intended to signal problems before they become deadly.

Experienced Representation Against Kaiser Permanente

The devastating effects of heart attack and stroke can be life-altering and life-ending. When catastrophe strikes and medical negligence by Kaiser Permanente is the cause, the injured and their families can turn to the experienced and effective representation of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger lawyers.

Walkup attorneys, in their years representing Kaiser members against such arguments, have gained invaluable experience in combating them. Turning to experts in the various fields of cardiac medicine, the Walkup team has learned how to trace the sequence of events and analyze each step taken to pinpoint where and how Kaiser Permanente physicians and nurses acted negligently. Their success in these efforts has enabled Walkup attorneys to secure compensation from Kaiser for the members and their families who must live with the emotionally and financially devastating effects of Kaiser’s negligence.

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact us by email or call us today at (415) 981-7210.

Information About Strokes And Heart Attacks And Kaiser Permanente

Prevention requires timely and accurate diagnosis. When heart attack or stroke is the threat, prevention through timely and accurate diagnosis is not only valuable, it is essential. Walkup attorneys have extensive experience representing Kaiser members and their families in cases where Kaiser professionals misdiagnosed heart conditions, or ignored the results of tests intended to signal problems before they become deadly.

When a dreaded event happens, and heart attack or stroke does occur, the difference between recovery and death or disability can be as simple as the doctor’s use of the appropriate tool, or ordering the right test. When this doesn’t occur, it is common for Kaiser professionals to argue that, regardless of the steps taken or tools used, the outcome would have been the same.

EXAMPLES OF OUR SUCCESS

Undiagnosed Cardiac Tamponade – Brain Damage

A combination cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value of $3,200,000 was recovered on behalf of a 49-year-old man who developed a cardiac tamponade four days after undergoing open heart surgery. The problem was neither timely diagnosed nor treated, and cardiopulmonary arrest ensued. By the time he was resuscitated, the patient had sustained severe anoxic brain damage. As a result of injury to the brain, he suffers from spastic quadriparesis, cortical blindness, dysarthria, cognitive impairment, loss of bowel and bladder control, and dysphagia. Because of impaired swallowing, and the risk of aspiration pneumonia, he must be fed through a gastrostomy tube. After one year in a residential care facility, the member was discharged home to the care of his family (spouse and siblings) who, despite limited financial resources, sacrificed to provide quality home care and round-the-clock nursing. Under the terms of the agreed-upon settlement, an annuity was funded to provide $15,000 per month for life, increasing by 4.5% per annum, to offset the cost of attendant and nursing care. In addition, $1,563,000 was paid in cash.

Heart Catheterization Mistake – Death

Walkup attorneys negotiated an $850,000 settlement of claims brought by a deceased patient’s wife and two adult children for the wrongful death of a 56-year-old engineer following arterial rupture during a routine angioplasty. The patient presented to Kaiser South San Francisco’s ER complaining of chest tightness and chest pressure. He received nitroglycerin, quickly stabilized and was determined to be a suitable candidate for cardiac catheterization, which was performed later that day at Kaiser San Francisco. The patient elected angioplasty procedure over bypass surgery. The cardiologist performed an angioplasty on the proximal left anterior descending artery, entering with various catheters, balloons and stents. The stent did not expand fully against the vessel wall, though, so the doctor replaced the balloon with a slightly larger, non-compliant type, and inflated it to a higher pressure. This attempt was also unsuccessful, as was the second effort to expand the stent. A third effort was made, after which the patient began complaining of chest pains. Some 10 minutes later, a perforation in the left anterior descending coronary artery was recognized, and the patient’s vital signs collapsed. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. The member’s family alleged that the stent used in the procedure was too large and that the doctor doing the procedure did not have adequate experience. The settlement in this case included the statutory maximum amount allowed under MICRA for non-economic damages, as well as compensation for lost wages.

Failure to Appreciate Results of Blood Pressure Test – Death

Walkup attorneys obtained a binding Kaiser arbitration award in the amount of $946,616 on behalf of the surviving heirs of a Kaiser member who suffered a heart attack at age 48. The decedent, a long time public servant in Contra Costa County, was running for assessor at the time of his death. Five weeks prior, he had undergone a 24 hour Holter monitor evaluation (the equivalent of a 24 hour EKG) because of irregularities noted during a routine blood pressure check. The Holter study indicated signs of ischemia (insufficient blood supply) to the heart. His survivors contended that Kaiser Walnut Creek physicians should have followed up on the Holter monitor results immediately and that a proper work up, including a thallium treadmill examination, would have resulted in a diagnosis of severe coronary artery disease and permitted timely bypass surgery.

Kaiser disputed liability, claiming that the findings reflected on the Holter monitor tracings were not diagnostic and were, in fact, insignificant. Kaiser also claimed that bypass surgery would not have prevented the fatal heart attack. The case was arbitrated for five days before a panel of three arbitrators. The award of damages included past economic loss of $128,000 and an award of $598,500 reflecting the present cash value of future economic losses. General damages for the wrongful death of this husband and father were limited by MICRA to $250,000.

Misdiagnosis of Aortic Dissection – Amputation/Brain Damage

Walkup attorneys obtained a mediated settlement of $1,100,000 on behalf of a 56-year-old real estate broker who suffered brain damage and required amputations of both legs below the knees after Kaiser Richmond Emergency Room doctors misdiagnosed his aortic dissection as angina, delaying treatment of this surgical emergency.

The patient presented to the Kaiser Richmond ER at 10:00 a.m., complaining of severe chest pain. He was forced to wait as his pain intensified until his wife demanded immediate care. Tests performed in the ER included an EKG, chest x-ray and enzyme study. These ruled out myocardial infarction or heart attack. Patient’s pain and a significant aortic murmur strongly suggested aortic dissection, but no CT scan was taken. Additionally, the patient’s family history, which included aortic dissection (a hereditary condition), was never obtained by the ER staff. Despite signs of possible aortic dissection, angina was diagnosed and the patient was started on an aggressive regimen of anticoagulants, which were contra-indicated. Nearly 10 hours later, the patient was transferred to Summit Medical Center in Oakland to undergo angioplasty. Pre-surgery tests indicated that patient was suffering from aortic dissection and surgery ensued. However, due to the extensive bleeding caused by the delay and the anticoagulants administered at Kaiser Richmond, the patient bled heavily throughout the surgery and for several days following. The results of this extensive blood loss included thrombosis of all vessels in his lower extremities, requiring amputation of both legs below the knee, as well as anoxic brain injury, manifesting in complete short term memory loss, decreased IQ, decreased motivation, and a completely new and passive personality. Settlement, which included both cash and annuity payments, included the full MICRA amount for non-economic damages, as well as lost past and future earnings, and compensation for past and future medical expenditure.

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Why Choose Us

Reason #8

We Try Cases. While most cases settle, some cases need to be tried for our clients to recover full value. Insurance companies and major corporations will not pay full value of a case if they are not afraid of the plaintiff's lawyer in trial. If your lawyers cannot win in trial you have no negotiating power. We win in trial; judges and defense lawyers know that. Our team of lawyers have been honored as "Trial Lawyer of the Year" by the San Francisco Trial Lawyer's Association and the California Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

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