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Kaiser Blamed for Brain Hemorrhage Death

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A 17-year-old girl died of a brain hemorrhage after doctors opted for observation instead of treatment, her mother claims in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Stephanie Young sued as personal representative of her daughter Caryl E. Lynch's estate.

The estate seeks $3.5 million in its wrongful death lawsuit against NW Permanente P.C., Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Oregon Health and Science University Medical Group, Doernbecher Children's Hospital and Thomas David Lambkin, M.D.

In 2012, Caryl Lynch sought medical care from defendants for a bleeding disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), "which, when properly treated, is non-life threatening," according to the complaint.

A Mayo Clinic website says ITP symptoms include bruises called pupura and small reddish-purple spots on the skin called petechiae. The disorder occurs when, for unknown reasons, the body's immune system destroys blood platelets, which normally would allow for clotting, the Mayo Clinic says. Treatments can include a medication called intravenous immune globulin and spleen removal.

Caryl Lynch's mother recounts a timeline of Oct. 22 to Dec. 5, 2012, during which Caryl "presented with extremely low platelet counts and excessive bleeding indicating an increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage in the event the bleeding was not adequately controlled," her complaint states.

"At all times mentioned, the defendants advised Caryl Lynch and her family, that neither her bleeding nor her platelet counts were alarming and that her condition rarely presented life threatening bleeding. At all times mentioned, the defendants recommended observation rather than active treatment of Caryl Lynch's condition. Caryl Lynch and her family reasonably relied upon the defendants' advice and expertise, particularly in light of defendants' advice that ITP was rarely life threatening and would resolve on its own," the complaint continues.

But on Dec. 4, Caryl Lynch was taken to defendant Oregon Health and Science University, a Kaiser facility, "with a history of severe headache and bleeding, she was pale, sick appearing with cold feet, a slow capillary refill, multiple petechiae and purpura over her entire body with multiple areas of skin abrasion," according to the complaint.

It continues, "Caryl Lynch's condition continued to decline without appropriate treatment resulting in a cerebral hemorrhage which eventually led to her death on Dec. 5, 2012, after she was removed from life support following a pronouncement of brain death."

Caryl Lynch's mother says Caryl should have been warned that her bleeding "indicated an increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage," been actively treated with intravenous immune globulin in the week prior to her death, and had her spleen removed.

The estate is represented by John M. Coletti of Paulson Coletti in Portland.

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