Patient Says Kaiser Was No Help at All
By Barbara Wallace
SACRAMENTO (CN) — A Kaiser hospital offered no help to a woman whose mentally ill husband was its patient, and refused to help her too after he nearly strangled her to death, she claims in a lawsuit against the healthcare giant.
Marnie Lynch sued The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and her husband's therapist, Kiernan Michelle Andrews, on May 31 in Superior Court.
Lynch and her husband, Julius Lockett Jr., were both Kaiser members, and her husband was taking medication and being treated by Andrews, Lynch says.
In late January 2015, worried about her husband's "insomnia, aggressive behavior, loaded guns and dark thoughts," Lynch called Kaiser to try to get him some more help, but no one called back, she says.
In early February 2015, he woke her up at 2:30 a.m., "looking paranoid, with sweat on his brow, and glassy eyes," and told her "that he was 'up all night thinking about killing' her." She fled, terrified, and called Kaiser three times that morning, but no one called back, she says in the complaint.
On March 2, 2015, her husband nearly killed her. "He brutally strangled her as he held her body to the ground violently shaking her and screaming, 'Do you want to die?!! Do you want to die?!! Do you want to die?!"
He was arrested that night after Lynch called 911. Then she called Kaiser again, to report what had just happened, but "(a)gain, Kaiser did not return Marnie's call."
At 12:05 a.m. on March 3, she called Kaiser again "to report that the police took seven guns from the home, several of which were loaded," she says in the complaint.
She called Kaiser a third time at 8:46 a.m. and left a 2-minute message, repeating the story, "and explaining that she needed help."
Kaiser finally returned her calls at 9:31 a.m., but did not offer to help her, Lynch says. She says the (unidentified) counselor seemed more concerned about whether Lockett had threatened his ex-wife. Kaiser then issued a Tarasoff warning to Lockett's ex-wife — a "duty to warn" notice named for a California Supreme Court ruling.
To cap it off, "as a patient of Kaiser herself, Marnie went to Kaiser for treatment of the emotional stress she sustained, but Kaiser refused to treat her. After hearing Marnie's harrowing story, the counselor stated that Kaiser does not 'do that type of counseling.' No further care was rendered to Marnie by Kaiser," according to the complaint.
Lynch seeks lost income, and punitive damages for negligence, negligent hiring and training, and breach of duty of care to her as a patient.
She is represented by Shannon Mason in Carmichael, whose assistant said Mason was not able to comment on Thursday afternoon.
Kaiser did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.