Patient Seeks $4.9 Million From Kaiser For Delayed Diagnosis
8-7-2019 15:22:00

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Kaiser’s refusal to order imaging or do a colonoscopy for nearly six months resulted in amputation and delay in diagnosing colon cancer, according to an action filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Mary Tyner sued Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans of the Northwest, Inc. and Northwest Permanente, P.C., for medical malpractice.

Tyner’s action alleges that she went to defendant Kaiser on Feb. 16, 2017 with complaints of diarrhea for the previous four weeks, since Jan. 23, 2017, and weight loss. Tyner says the medical assistant documented that she had not had colorectal screening. “No attempts to diagnose the cause of the diarrhea were made, and no referral for colorectal screening was made,” the suit states.

On July 10, 2017, Tyner called Kaiser, reporting nearly three weeks of diarrhea with blood and mucous in the stool. She was seen the following day by a Physician Assistant. Tyner had lost more than 30 pounds since her visit in February, and she now had an additional complaint of pain in her groin, according to the action.

Lab studies ordered during the visit documented blood in the stool, extremely elevated white blood cell count, abnormally elevated platelets, abnormally low albumin levels, very low blood electrolyte levels and the presence of shiga toxin producing E. Coli. “However, no imaging studies of Ms. Tyner’s abdomen were ordered, and no colonoscopy was ordered,” the complaint claims.

On July 17, Tyner says she had a follow up appointment, in which she was offered an antibiotic, which she refused. She complained of ongoing and increasing pain in her groin, which was so bad she had to use a walker, according to the action. Still, no imaging studies of her abdomen and no colonoscopy were ordered.

Tyner was seen again on July 24, with continuing complaints of diarrhea and pain in her groin. By this time she had lost 35 pounds since her February visit, and lab results indicated kidney impairment. Again, no abdominal imaging or colonoscopy were ordered, the complaint claims.

On July 29, Tyner was taken by ambulance to Kaiser, where imaging studies showed her sigmoid colon was perforated, “likely due to a 12x6  centimeter mass/malignancy, which was diagnosed as likely cancer of the sigmoid colon,” the suit states. Surgery to repair the colon revealed infection in the abdomen and into the muscle fascia of her left leg.

The action alleges that Kaiser’s continuous refusal to order abdominal imaging and a colonoscopy over the course of nearly six months delayed the diagnosis of colon cancer and infection in her leg. The infection developed into necrotizing fasciitis. After 10 surgeries attempting to save the leg, it had to be amputated at the hip joint, the complaint charges.

Now she needs a wheelchair to get around, and has “permanent loss of mobility,” Tyner seeks $3 million in non-economic damages, $1.9 million for medical and life care expenses and lost earnings, and legal costs. Tyner “reserves the right to amend or supplement economic damages up to and including through the time of trial.”

The plaintiff is represented by Robert Beatty-Walters of the Law Offices of Robert Beatty-Walters in Portland, Oregon.