LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kaiser Hospital kept a longtime patient suffering from stroke-like symptoms in a storage room, lying in his own excrement, and abused him, the man claims in Superior Court.
Kaiser personnel at the Baldwin Park facility allegedly believed David Stanley was "homeless" and "a drug addict looking to 'score' drugs."
The suit names as defendants the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; its contractor,, Securitas Security Services of America; and Dr. David Kim.
Stanley says that he had regularly been treated by Kaiser for medical conditions, including diabetes, after his stroke in December 2010. After waking to find that he could not move his legs on Feb. 2, 2011, he took an ambulance to Baldwin Park, according to the complaint.
But Kaiser employees allegedly told Stanley that "they could not find his name 'in their system'" and refused to believe the patient's claims that his wife would soon arrive with his Kaiser membership card.
"On a number of occasions, employees of Kaiser [including a doctor, later identified as defendant Kim] told plaintiff he was lying and that 'there was no one out there for him,'" the complaint states (brackets in original).
Refusing to treat him, Kaiser employees allegedly left Stanley on a gurney in the hallway. He "heard various Kaiser employees [both to his face and amongst themselves] question his legitimacy as a patient and also complain that they were being made late for their scheduled break," according to his complaint (brackets in original).
"At one point, the emergency personnel who had transported plaintiff to the facility and who had remained were accused of 'dumping' a homeless man at the facility and were asked 'where did you find this guy,'" the complaint continues. "Emergency personnel told Kaiser employees they had picked Stanley up at his home and that he was not 'homeless.' At one point, the emergency personnel were told to 'get this guy out of here' and take him to another hospital."
Kaiser personnel, including Dr. Kim, allegedly accused Stanley of inventing his symptoms to secure drugs. Stanley "heard Kaiser personnel accuse him of being a drug addict and claiming that his 'alleged symptoms' were the result of him 'detoxing' and that they 'saw it all the time,'" according to his complaint.
Stanley continued to insist he was a legitimate patient and begged for hospital staff to look for his wife in the waiting area. He says they responded by pushing his gurney "around a corner away from the Kaiser personnel."
"While waiting to be treated, plaintiff began to experience extreme gastric distress and believed he would soon lose control of his bowels," the complaint states. "Plaintiff repeatedly requested that he be helped to the bathroom or that he be given a bedpan so that he would not soil himself. His requests were ignored and eventually plaintiff lost control of his bowels and soiled himself. Thereafter, plaintiff repeatedly requested that he be cleaned up. Again, his requests were ignored (one nurse stated, 'don't worry about it') and he was left sitting in a hallway, in full view of others."
"While waiting for someone at Kaiser to show him any care or kindness whatsoever, plaintiff heard numerous Kaiser employees accuse him of being, amongst other things, homeless, a drug addict looking to 'score' drugs and a liar," the complaint states. "Eventually, understandably frustrated, plaintiff began to raise his voice, insisting that he be treated. Kim told him that, unless he 'shut up,' security and/or the police would be called and plaintiff would be forcibly removed from the facility. In one exchange, after plaintiff grew more frustrated, a nurse told plaintiff, 'you can lay there in your own shit.'"
Staffers eventually moved Stanley to an examination room that was being used to store supplies, he says. But Kaiser employees allegedly refused to treat him or clean him. He was "left alone in the room, covered in his own excrement," he says.
Deciding to get up and find his wife, Stanley allegedly began yelling for Kaiser personnel to help him.
"As he began to stand, supporting himself with a chair, Kim entered the room followed by 2-3 guards and 2 nurses," the complaint states. "One of the guards [named co-defendant John Gonzalez] yelled, 'he's gonna charge' and immediately rushed plaintiff and tackled him, driving plaintiff into the wall and kneeing plaintiff in the midsection. Plaintiff's head struck the wall and his arm was scraped as he fell to the floor, with Gonzalez on top of him. Kim yelled 'get off of him,' but once plaintiff was on the floor, Gonzalez continued to hit and kick plaintiff, who was defenseless. Thereafter, someone yelled 'get up,' plaintiff indicated that he could not get up and that he was injured. Plaintiff's injuries were significant enough to leave blood on the wall and floor."
Stanley says that Kaiser employees then told him to stay where he was. They left him "lying on the floor, covered with his own excrement and now bloodied," the complaint says.
An orderly was charged with watching Stanley, but no one attended to his wounds or treated him, Stanley says.
After persuading the orderly to find Stanley's wife in the waiting room, the worker allegedly returned in minutes with Stanley's wife and his Kaiser identification card.
"The attitude of the Kaiser employees instantly changed," Stanley says. He was "immediately taken to another area, where he was cleaned and was given treatment for his complaints ... [and] provided with a bedpan and hot towels."
"Employees of Kaiser also immediately began to clean the area where plaintiff had been assaulted, attempting to clean up all evidence of excrement and blood from the floor and walls," Stanley alleges.
In addition to being diagnosed with the lingering symptoms of his earlier stroke, which forced him to seek treatment in the first place, Stanley says he was also treated for a concussion, cuts and abrasions, the results of being physically assaulted by Kaiser security.
Stanley alleges negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery and false imprisonment. He is represented by G. Peter Nooregard of Irvine, Calif.
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