Kaiser Missed New Mom’s Costly Kidney Disease, Couple Claims
9-12-2019 18:20:00

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Kaiser did not diagnose a new mother’s serious kidney disease, she and her husband claim in Multnomah County Circuit Court, seeking $58.1 million.

Kayla R. Hutchins sued Northwest Permanente, P.C., an Oregon corporation, and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc., a California corporation, for medical malpractice and loss of chance. Her husband Matthew R. Hutchins also sued for loss of consortium.

According to the lawsuit, Kayla Hutchins gave birth to her third child on Sep. 5, 2017. She had high blood pressure while she was in the hospital, it says.

“On or about Sep. 7, 2017, plaintiff Kayla Hutchins returned to defendant Kaiser for weakness, nausea, headache, swollen legs, shortness of breath and confusion. Plaintiff had high blood pressure and was severely anemic which required her to receive a transfusion of two units of blood. Defendant Kaiser sent her home on blood pressure medication and told her to have her blood pressure checked early the following week. The cause of plaintiff's symptoms was not diagnosed,” the complaint states.

Hutchins went back to Kaiser on Sep. 12, and her blood pressure was higher despite the medication, according to the complaint. She was hospitalized but, again, no diagnosis was made, according to the complaint.

“On Sep. 13, 2017, an obstetrician caring for plaintiff noted that Ms. Hutchins might have a disease called ‘atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome’ (‘aHUS’), a condition caused by over-activation of the immune system causing small blood vessels to develop clots, thus injuring the patient’s kidneys. Despite the notation by the examining physician, an evaluation for this diagnosis was not done,” the complaint states.

On Sep. 19 Kaiser did a kidney biopsy which revealed abnormalities consistent with the life-changing and medically expensive condition, but it was still not diagnosed, according to the complaint.

“The only drug on the market that specifically targets and treats the cause aHUS is called ‘Eculizumab.’ Plaintiff Kayla Hutchins  was not treated with Eculizumab by defendant Kaiser during the entire time, over four and a half weeks, that she was at defendant Kaiser as an inpatient,” the complaint continues.

Hutchins needed dialysis starting on Sep. 20, and was transferred to a non-Kaiser hospital on Oct. 16, according to the complaint. The other hospital, which is not a party to the lawsuit, correctly diagnosed her condition and began treating her with Eculizumab, according to the complaint.

“Plaintiff Kayla Hutchins continues to be treated with Eculizumab due to her markedly reduced kidney function and she will require such treatment for the rest of her life. Kayla Hutchins is 35 years old,” the complaint states.

Hutchins describes the impact of the disease in her  complaint:

"As a result of Defendant's negligence. Plaintiff Kayla Hutchins was caused to develop chronic renal disease from permanent damage to her kidneys, which has caused Plaintiff to have less physical stamina, as well as fatigue and lethargy. Because of the kidney damage, Plaintiff had to have intermittent dialysis and is at increased risk for needing additional dialysis and ultimately a kidney transplant, and she is at risk for all of the complications associated with transplant and the medications given to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney. Plaintiff continues to be treated with Eculizumab which increases her risk of infection and impairs her ability to work as a nurse caring for ill patients. She also suffers from headaches, nausea and vomiting. Her ability to care for her children is impaired, and her life is filled with doctor's appointments and frequent laboratory testing. Plaintiff lives with the knowledge that she has lost so much kidney function that her life may be shortened. All of these conditions and limitations have caused Plaintiff to suffer emotional distress and an interference with her activities of daily living, to her non-economic damage of $7,500,000.00.

"As a result of Defendant's negligence. Plaintiff Kayla Hutchins has had to incur medical expenses in the approximate sum of $ 2,000,000.00, to date. She will continue to incur medical expenses that will include Eculizumab for life, a potential kidney transplant and permanent or periodic dialysis, all to Plaintiffs economic damage in the approximate sum of $44,600,000.00. Additionally, Plaintiff has lost income and wages to date and sustained loss of her future earning capacity in the amount of $2,000,000.00. Plaintiff Kayla Hutchins, therefore, has sustained economic damages in the approximate sum of $48,600,000.00."

Kayla Hutchins seeks non-economic damages of $7.5 million and economic damages of $48.6 million. Matthew Hutchins seeks non-economic damages of $2 million. They are represented by David K. Miller and Robert S. Wagner of Miller & Wagner in Portland.