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Kaiser Apathy Led to Back Injury, Tech Says

(CN) - A dialysis technician says in court that she injured her back while trying helping a patient whom Kaiser nursing staff had abandoned in Fresno, Calif.

Mary McPherson says she threatened to call a supervisor when a nurse refused to help, but the nurse said "she did not care because her last day was" approaching.

Davita Inc., one of the largest kidney-care companies in the United States, contracts with Kaiser Permanente to provide patients with dialysis under the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

McPherson says she entered a hospital room at a Kaiser hospital in Fresno on April 21, 2010, to perform dialysis for Davita.

While administering dialysis, McPherson says she noticed the patient was experiencing pain because she was lying in an "awkward" position and could not change positions on her own.

"After about an hour, plaintiff intervened and asked a nurse to respond to the patient's complaints and need for help," the complaint states. "The nurse refused to assist the patient. When plaintiff asked for a nursing supervisor, the nurse stated plaintiff could tell her supervisor, that she did not care because her last day was on Thursday."

Thursday fell on April 22 that week.

After another hour had passed, McPherson helped the woman and severely injured her back in the process, according to the complaint. McPherson says she believes it was her obligation as a medical professional to help the patient.

"Here, the patient at issue was abandoned by defendants' medical staff without due notice and in violation of public policy," the complaint states. "Said conduct resulted in plaintiff sustaining injuries when she intervened as a Good Samaritan to assume defendant's duty to respond to the patient and move her to a position that would end her discomfort."

McPherson said that if she hadn't helped the patient, she too would have been in violation of public policy.

The technician seeks damages for lost wages and pain and suffering. She is represented by Edward Chatoian.

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