'Explosion' in Woman's Head Was not A Headache, Widower Says
(CN) - A woman died of a cerebral hemorrhage because staff at a Kaiser hospital refused to believe it was anything more than a common headache, her widower claims in Placer County Superior court.
Lesley Bunning, 61, arrived at Kaiser’s Roseville, Calif. hospital on Dec. 16, 2014, complaining of head pain from what she describes as an “explosion” that went off in her head.
Mrs. Bunning, who was a co-partner in a certified public accounting firm, told Kaiser staff several times that “this is not a headache,” according to the lawsuit.
Her husband, Bernard, claims she was discharged after six hours despite not being seen by a neurologist, and despite her telling staff that she was taking the blood thinner Coumadin, prescribed by her Kaiser doctor.
She was back the next day, this time arriving by ambulance.
She complained of increased discomfort in her head and said she was having trouble moving her arms and legs, the lawsuit states.
A CT scan then revealed a large subarachnoid hemorrhage with brain compression, which ultimately killed her that day, the lawsuit states.
Bernard Bunning says that not only is Kaiser responsible for his wife’s death, but that it tricks its health care plan enrollees to sign an arbitration clause to cover them when disputes, such as wrongful death cases, arise.
“Kaiser knew that the agreement was deceitful, in violation of California law, oppressive, fraudulent, ambiguous and drafted to conceal the truth about arbitration clauses, as well as designed to trick, misrepresent and conceal the truth to plaintiff regards arbitration laws in California,” according to the complaint. “Kaiser’s design was to make it where the persons that signed agreements … were unknowingly subjecting themselves to possible binding arbitration with Kaiser if any dispute arose.”
Husband Bernard Bunning, and children Tamara Alsburg, Allison Perrins and Megan Bunning sued Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. for wrongful death, promissory fraud and violations of the California Unfair Business Practices Act.
The plaintiffs seek general, exemplary and punitive damages in addition to $500,000 in incurred damages, as well as costs for burial. They also seek disgorgement and an order requiring Kaiser to cease its practices of forcing patients to sign arbitration plans.
The plaintiffs are represented by James Elmer and Paul Cass in Citrus Heights, Calif.