Kaiser Hospital Fails to Recognize Signs of Medication Toxicity in Medical Malpractice Case

The following blog is provided as an example of a Kaiser medical malpractice lawsuit to aid potential clients in how a lawsuit is examined and conduced. 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 UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

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

INJURIES: Relish suffered kidney failure and pneumonia. She was on dialysis and hospitalized from December 2005 until her death on July 26, 2006. She is survived by her two adult children.


On Oct. 29, 2005, plaintiffs’ decedent Mary Relish, 78, was admitted to a Kaiser hospital suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and trigeminal neuralgia. She was prescribed Tegretol for her condition, which she took until she presented to Kaiser on Dec. 8, 2005, suffering from possible Tegretol toxicity. Her kidneys failed, and she ended up on permanent dialysis as well as operating on a ventilator and suffering from pneumonia.

Relish died July 26, 2006. She remained in the hospital until her passing.

Relish’s two grown children sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and Southern California Permanente Medical Group, alleging medical malpractice. They contended that Tegretol was contraindicated since their mother had been taking Prozac, Claritin and Darvocet as of Oct. 19, 2005. They claimed that Kaiser staff failed to conduct an initial blood work analysis and failed to discontinue the drug when Relish showed the first signs of Tegretol toxicity. They also contended that the hospital’s negligent care is what kept Relish hospitalized until her death.

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

The plaintiffs expert nephrologist testified that the defendants’ failures resulted in permanent dialysis as well as other issues. Their expert psychiatrist testified that the signs of Tegretol toxicity should have been noticed early on.

The defendants argued that their treatment had not been below the standard of care. They claimed that once in the hospital, Relish suffered from issues common to elderly patients.

The defense expert neurologist testified on cross-examination that in his own practice, pre-drug blood work and follow-up care would have been routine. The defense nephrologist opined that the defendants had not been below the standard of care.

The plaintiffs sought recovery of damages for wrongful death and loss of care, comfort and society.

RESULT: Arbitration
Award Total: $694,674

The arbitrator awarded the plaintiffs $696,674, as well as fees and costs.

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

Contact Information