Kaiser Accused of Not Testing for Vessel Damage With Severe Leg Brake
7-23-2013 23:42:00

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Kaiser doctors ignored a man's leg swelling from knee to foot, his knee being hot to the touch, lower leg redness, and numbness and limited mobility in his foot, and he ended up with "foot drop," he claims in a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Court, Central District.
     Richard Huerta sued  Memorialcare Medical Foundation dba Long Beach Memorial Medical Center; Memorialcare Medical Group; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Los Angeles Superior Court Central District; and four doctors for medical malpractice.
     Huerta had fallen down some stairs and went to the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center emergency room with knee pain, swelling and numbness. They told him he had a broken leg, and no vascular study, MRI or pressure test was done to rule out Compartment Syndrome injury.
     The next day, at the Kaiser Downey Orthopedic Clinic, the doctor noted "lower left leg swelling from the knee to foot, lower leg redness with numbness to the foot with limited ability to move his toes. The area of the knee was also hot to the touch," the complaint says.
     Still, the diagnosis was a broken leg and, again, no vascular study, MRI or pressure test was done. A CT was taken, which indicated "a 'moderate joint effusion' and 'mild subcutaneous edema. However, the Kaiser radiologist further indicated that an MRI would be more suitable for assessment of the soft tissue structures," according to the complaint.
     'Foot drop' is a known complication of a fracture such as his, and the doctors should have performed the tests soon after the injury to avoid permanent damage, the complaint states.
     The patient accused Kaiser of intentionally putting off tests, which resulted in his permanent injury of the nerves in his foot, which made him drag his foot when he walked, according to the complaint.
     Nicholas Heiman of Los Angeles represents the plaintiffs.