San Francisco Medical Malpractice Case Claimed By Inmate Who Suffered Complete Loss of Bladder After Operation

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a medical malpractice case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court. It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General, California Pacific Medical Center, or St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Harris contended that due to the delay in placing the suprapubic catheter, he suffered permanent loss of urinary function.


In September 2008, plaintiff Pete Harris, 48, an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison in California, sued the California Department of Corrections and Dr. Casey Larth, the prison health care manager, alleging that Larth had exhibited indifference to his serious medical need over a period from June 2004 to December 2007, in violation of his Eight Amendment rights. Harris also alleged retaliation.

Harris claimed that Larth had deliberately delayed in the diagnosis of a neurogenic bladder dysfunction condition, as well as replacement of an indwelling Foley catheter, emplacement of a suprapubic catheter and allowing Harris to follow up with contract urologists.

Harris further alleged that in retaliation for his civil complaint, Larth ordered prison official to search his cell and strip him of authorized medical supplies. Additionally, Harris claimed Larth denied his request to be taken to an emergency room after a suprapubic tub became dislodged from his abdomen.

Harris also sued Dr. Gary Remmy, an emergency room doctor at SVSP who treated Harris when his suprapubic catheter became dislodged, and nurse Derek Jason, who treated Harris at various times.

The plaintiff’s emergency medicine expert opined that the prison medical staff should have reacted quicker to Harris’s complaints of urinary tract problems and that the delay especially caused complete loss of use of his bladder.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The defense contended that Harris’s medical treatment met the standard of care. Larth, as well as other treating urologists, argued that the preferred way to handle neurogenic bladder dysfunction is a self-intermittent catheterization and that the suprapubic catheter was merely Harris’s preference, not a medical need. He denied all claims of deliberate indifference and that he had ordered Harris’s cell to be searched.

The defense’s emergency medicine expert testified about how the prison health care system was set up, how referrals to specialty care providers were performed, and the duties of the prison health care manager. He also testified that Larth acted appropriately and in accordance with all prison health care guidelines and policies.

The primary treating urologist also testified that Harris was treated appropriately for his neurogenic bladder condition and the suprapubic catheter was inserted for Harris’s comfort and preference, not because that was the only way to treat the condition.

He sought recovery of damages for pain and suffering and civil penalties, requesting $500,000 from the jury.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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