Lack of Care for Injury Results in Paralysis, Action Claims
6-14-2019 23:19:00

SAN BERNARNDINO, Calif. (CN) – Due to a Kaiser doctor’s refusal to fully examine a workers’ compensation patient, he is paralyzed from the waist down, according to an action filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

James Ramirez and Malinda Ramirez sued Usha Raghavan, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Inc. and Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc. for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, deceptive business practices and loss of consortium.            

James Ramirez was injured at work on March 16, 2018. While driving a forklift, he slammed into a pallet. Due to pain in his lower back, he reported the accident and injury to his employer and was treated through his employer’s insurance as a workers’ compensation claimant, according to the suit. 

Defendant Sedgwick is the insurance claims adjuster for Ramirez’s employer. Sedwick’s claims adjusters, “who have no medical experience or licensure, substantially directed Ramirez’s post-accident treatment by either approving or denying Ramirez’s medical requests relating to his injury,” the suit states.

Ramirez was first directed to a medical clinic in Colton, California. There was no doctor there for his appointment and an on-call doctor gave him a shot for the pain. The on-call doctor admitted he had been drinking, and told Ramirez to return the next day for further examination, the action alleges. 

Ramirez called Sedgwick and asked to be treated at Arrowhead Orthopedics in Redlands, California, instead. The request was denied and Ramirez was directed to Kaiser, the suit states.

At Kaiser, Ramirez says the doctor, defendant Raghaven, diagnosed him with lumbar strain without examining him and recommended ibuprofen for pain, even though his pain was “6-7 on a 10-scale” and he had told the doctor that he felt a pop at the time of the impact, the complaint claims. 

After a second Kaiser appointment, Ramirez was told “there is nothing we can do,” the suit states. Raghaven also denied him time off from work. A third Kaiser appointment was a repeat of the previous two, with no physical examination or diagnostic imaging. Ramirez had to leave Kaiser in a wheelchair because his pain was so severe he could not walk, the action alleges. 

The following day, Ramirez felt paralyzed from the waist down and could not move his legs. He called 911 and was transported to Loma Linda Emergency Department, where a magnetic resonance imaging exam found a serious spinal injury. Ramirez had emergency back surgery and was hospitalized for 29 days. Due to the delay in proper treatment, he continues to have complete numbness in his feet, legs, and rectal area and loss of sexual function, the complaint claims.

The plaintiffs seek special and general damages of $800,000, general damages for loss of consortium, punitive damages, and legal costs. They are represented by Jeff Grotke of the Law Office of Jeff Grotke in Redlands, California.