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Kaiser Patient Dies After Knee Surgery, Wife Says

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CN) - A Kaiser patient lost his appetite after routine knee surgery, ultimately leading to his death, his family claims in Solano County Court.

Charles William Kennedy's widow, Vicky Georgia Kennedy, and their three children, sued The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Vacaville Convalescent and Rehab Center, Jau Dean Lee, M.D. and 11 other named health care providers, for negligence, elder abuse and wrongful death.

According to the family's lawsuit, Charles Kennedy had an elective total left knee replacement at Kaiser's Vacaville hospital on Aug. 19, 2013, and died on Sept. 8 because his doctors did not properly treat his post-operative loss of appetite and related problems.

"At all times after the said surgery, decedent experienced and complained to the staff and to his family of a lack of appetite and associated symptoms indicating that his digestive tract and other organs were not functioning appropriately after surgery," the complaint states.

Two days after the surgery, Kennedy was transferred to Vacaville Convalescent and Rehab Center, according to the complaint. He and his family continued to report his symptoms to staff over the next week, to no avail, according to the complaint.

"On or about Aug. 27, 2013, defendants Vacaville Convalescent and Rehab Center finally noted that decedent was in significant distress, as a result of his deteriorating condition, including significant abdominal distension, difficulty in breathing and deteriorating vital signs," the complaint states.

Kennedy was taken to Kaiser Vacaville's emergency room, but he "ultimately suffered respiratory arrest, acute renal failure and blood culture negative septic shock, cardiac arrest and anoxic brain injury," and died on Sept. 8, according to the complaint.

Kennedy's family seeks general and special damages for loss of Kennedy's care, comfort and society, attorney's fees and costs of suit. They are represented by Lloyd Douglas Dix of Dix and Associates in Calabasas and Jeffrey A. Millman of Hodes, Millman, Liebeck in Irvine.

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