Kaiser Accused of Failing to Diagnose Liver Cancer

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A woman claims in county court that her husband died of liver cancer because Kaiser did not diagnose it until it was terminal.
     Valerie Steele sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and Southern California Permanente Medical Group for wrongful death and loss of consortium, in San Diego County Superior Court.
     Steele’s complaint says that while Kaiser diagnosed her husband, Craig Brittingham, with Hepatitis and moderately advanced cirrhosis, in 2003, it did not anticipate, monitor for, or catch signs of his liver cancer until he was dying in 2011. He died in 2012, “under defendants’ exclusive care and control,” according to the complaint. Steele was left with “significant” medical bills from her dying husband’s intensive care, while he also was unable to work, the complaint says.
     The complaint alleges that “defendants’ failure to diagnose and treat Brittingham according to the applicable standard of care was a substantial factor in, and thus a direct and proximate cause of, Brittingham’s development of terminal liver cancer and his resulting death.
     “Brittingham’s death would most likely not have occurred in the absence of negligence by his treating physicians. Moreover, the series of events that resulted in Mr. Brittingham’s death occurred while Brittingham was under defendants’ exclusive care and control.”
     The complaint also states that “Brittingham continued to live for months after defendants’ negligent acts or omissions manifested into terminal cancer, a significant portion of which consisted of intensive medical treatment. Brittingham incurred significant medical expenses as a result. His cancer and/or the resulting treatment for the cancer rendered Brittingham unable to work, resulting in lost wages.”
     Plaintiff seeks special damages, including past medical expenses, past lost wages, and loss of future support and services; general damages, including loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support in an amount to be proven at trial; pre-judgment and costs of suit.
     The plaintiff is represented by Kevin F. Quinn and Neal A. Markowitz of Thornes Bartolotta McGuire LLP in San Diego.

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