Patient Says Kaiser’s Bungled Post-Op Care Caused Disability
11-27-2019 23:17:00

HILLSBORO, Ore. (CN) – A Kaiser patient claims botched post-surgery care has permanently damaged her vascular system requiring her to be on expensive blood thinners the rest of her life, according to a suit filed in Washington County Circuit Court.

Adrienne Blasingame sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Patricia Sandholm and Aubrey Joslyn for medical malpractice.

According to her action, Blasingame had surgery to remove excess flesh from her abdomen (abdominoplasty), and breast reduction on both sides, performed by defendant physician Sandholm at defendant Kaiser’s Sunnyside location on Nov. 20, 2017.

After the surgery, Sandholm prescribed Lovenox at 40 mcg once per day for five days as a precaution against blood clotting. “Her order was based only on Sandholm’s judgment that this ‘should be enough,’” the suit states.

On Nov. 28, 2017, Blasingame was seen by defendant physician’s assistant Joslyn for a one-week follow up appointment. At the time of her appointment, the complaint claims that Blasingame had “severe constipation, light-headedness when straining, severe chest pain, difficult tri-pod breathing, and a fever which began several days earlier despite taking three antipyretic [fever reducing] medications, including Tylenol, oxycodone, and morphine.”

Blasingame was advised to stop taking oxycodone, told to take ibuprofen for fever and prescribed additional morphine. She was also given a pamphlet on constipation. The action alleges that no diagnostic tests were ordered, such as chest x-ray or blood tests, even though Blasingame had an “extremely high risk for post-surgery venous thromboembolism,” otherwise known as a blood clot in a vein.

The following day, Blasingame says she went to the emergency room of Kaiser’s West Side Medical Center. Because a blood clot was suspected, a chest x-ray, computed tomography angiogram of her lungs (a CT scan used with an injected dye to visualize the veins and arteries), and blood work, including a D-dimer test to rule out blood clots, were ordered. 

“The imaging showed bi-lateral pulmonary embolism (PE) and left pleural effusion. The chest x-ray showed an elevated left hemidiaphragm. The D-dimer score was 2240, which is extremely high indicating presence of serious blood clotting,” the suit states. In other words, Blasingame’s tests indicated blood clots in her lungs and fluid build up in the lining around her lungs.

Blasingame was admitted to the hospital and treatment for the blood clots was started. The physician who saw her put her on a blood thinner, but said that two other blood thinners “would be better for lowering the risk of developing a hematoma in the areas where surgery had been performed…[but those] medications were not covered on the insurance formulary,” the suit states.

In the two years since her operation in November 2017, Blasingame has had multiple instances of blood clots and has had permanent damage to her circulatory system. In July 2019, Blasingame saw a non-Kaiser doctor who “diagnosed a life-long need for blood thinners, such as Eliquis, 5 mg, twice daily,” the suit states. 

Blasingame is currently 42, and she can no longer sit for her 12-hour shifts at work, cannot continue running and hiking activities, and will need expensive blood thinner medication for the rest of her life, the action alleges.

Blasingame seeks $500,000 in non-economic damages and $483,789 in economic damages. She is represented by David C. Clarke of Clarke Law Office in Beaverton, Oregon.