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Attorney Robert Vaage Secures 1 2 Million Arbitration Award Victim Kaiser Medica ...

Kaiser arbitrator, the Hon. John W. Kennedy, Jr., retired, awarded a Riverside woman $1,237,321 in damages related to the failure of Kaiser physicians to timely diagnose and treat her symptoms of transient ischemic attacks, which resulted in a stroke.

Attorney Robert Vaage has handled two cases involving Kaiser and the failure of their physicians to correctly recognize and diagnose symptoms of transient ischemic attacks (TIA), often misunderstood for migraines.

The Facts of the Case

In December of 2008, Linda de la Rosa visited Dr. Francis Chu, her primary doctor. She described symptoms of pressure in her right eye, a decrease in vision, and then her vision returning with flashes of light. She also noted that within that past week she had felt like she was being pulled to the right and fell once as a result of that sensation. Initially, Dr. Chu diagnosed her with a possible variation of a migraine with neurological symptoms.

Although Dr. Chu was aware of other existing health issues, such as Mrs. de la Rosa's Sjorgen's syndrome (increases the risk of blood clots) and that she had a deep vein thrombosis just five months earlier, he sent her home with nothing prescribed.

Unfortunately, just weeks later, she suffered a stroke due to blood clots that led to permanent vision damage, lack of muscular synchronization, permanent weakness in her left side and diminished sensation in her right side. Her life expectancy is shortened.

The Arbitrator’s Findings

Based on the persuasive weight of the medical testimony, the arbitrator concluded that Dr. Chu’s care fell below the acceptable standard. With appropriate testing and treatment, Mrs. de la Rosa's condition would have been diagnosed, and the stroke could have been avoided.

The California legislature limited general damages for pain and suffering under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975 (MICRA) to $250,000. The balance of the award to Mrs. de la Rosa was for income loss and future medical care.