Heart Attack and Flaccid Arm Blamed on Kaiser

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – A throat procedure caused a Kaiser patient’s heart attack, leaving her arm useless, and now Kaiser will not let her arbitrate, she claims in Alameda County Court.
     Wanda Riley sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, seeking a declaration that she can pursue binding arbitration for medical negligence, or, alternatively, to have her claim resolved in court.
     In her lawsuit, Riley says she has a history of chronic esophageal stricture that interferes with her swallowing.
     On Nov. 9, 2012, she went to Kaiser’s urgent care clinic in Vallejo with food stuck in her throat, she says. She was referred to the gastrointestinal clinic, where Kaiser staff scoped her throat, according to the complaint.
     During the procedure, Riley stopped breathing and her heart went into atrial fibrillation, or flutter, at which time she had no pulse, she says. She was down for 17 minutes before spontaneous circulation returned, according to her complaint.
     As a result of the incident, Riley has “a flaccid, non-functional left arm,” the complaint states.
     Almost a year later, but still within the statute of limitations, Riley submitted an arbitration request, according to the complaint. Kaiser sent her a denial letter the day it got her request, telling her she would have to take the matter to court if she wanted to pursue it, the complaint states.
     The letter was dated only five days before the statute of limitations deadline and yet it “contained no warning of such immediately impending deadline,” the complaint states.
     Kaiser’s letter said Riley’s request was denied because she was not a Kaiser member and had not been since Feb. 1, 2008, the complaint states.
     Riley says she has been receiving Kaiser services since that date, including a previous scoping in 2009, using her Kaiser Permanente Card.
     Riley wants the court to rule that she is eligible to seek compensation through Kaiser’s arbitration system.
     Alternatively, she wants the court to rule that her lawsuit is in compliance with the statute of limitations, because Kaiser received her arbitration request five days before the deadline, allowing it to proceed in court.
     Riley seeks loss of earning capacity damages, costs of suit and pre-judgment interest.
     She is represented by Edward J. Nevin of Petaluma.

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