Kaiser Punctured Organs, Hid It, Patient Says

     DENVER (CN) - Kaiser pressured a patient not to report a botched procedure to a state agency or seek legal representation, she claims in Denver County District Court.
     Elaine D'Antonio sued Colorado Permanente Medical Group, PC and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado for vicarious liability and negligent hiring, supervision, training, retention and entrustment of facilities; Dr. John Riopelle for professional negligence; and all defendants for unfair or deceptive trade practices.
     According to the lawsuit, Dr. Riopelle did a "routine esophageal scope" and "perforated Ms. D'Antonio's stomach and/or esophagus during the procedure. Dr. Riopelle also caused damage to Ms. D'Antonio's lung and liver and caused her to have acute peritonitis.
     "Dr. Riopelle did not inform Ms. D'Antonio that he had punctured her organs. Instead, Dr. Riopelle released Ms. D'Antonio after the procedure.
     "Hours after Dr. Riopelle punctured her stomach, Ms. D'Antonio was taken by ambulance to [non-party] Sky Ridge Medical Center where life saving, emergency surgery was performed," the complaint states. (Brackets added.)
     D'Antonio says she spent 10 days in the Sky Ridge hospital, including five in intensive care.
     Afterwards, Kaiser offered D'Antonio money in exchange for her agreement not to report the incident or seek legal representation, according to the complaint.
     "Under the RESOLVE program, Kaiser offered Ms. D'Antonio $100 per day spent in the hospital in return for her agreement not to report Dr. Riopelle or Kaiser to any state regulatory authority," the complaint states.
     Kaiser also "offered Ms. D'Antonio $100 per day spent in the hospital in return for her agreement not to seek legal representation," it states.
     D'Antonio calls such agreements "a standard business practice of Kaiser."
     "Kaiser was aware at all times Ms. D'Antonio was a senior citizen. Kaiser as a standard business practice pressures senior citizens to accept the RESOLVE payments, with multiple telephone calls and correspondence after threatening the senior citizens that consultation with a legal representative will end all chances to participate in the RESOLVE program," the complaint states.
     According to the lawsuit, after D'Antonio hired an attorney, Kaiser referred her and her attorney to the "risk management" department to file a complaint, without disclosing that it was actually Kaiser's legal department.
     Elaine D'Antonio seeks the statutory maximum for disfigurement, pain, suffering, inconvenience and anxiety, treble damages, attorney's fees and costs.
     She is represented by Thomas J. Eigner of Centennial, Colo.