This is the Face of TORT REFORM: A 10 Year Old Girl is Misdiagnosed and Dies and Her Life Is Only Worth $265,000!

BALDWIN PARK >> Kaiser Permanente has paid out $265,000 to the family of a 10-year-old who attorneys say died when an urgent care doctor misdiagnosed pneumonia for the flu.

Steven M. Sweat‘s insight:

This case, to me, epitomizes everything that is wrong with so called “tort reform” measures in California and in America.  This little girl was misdiagnosed as having “the flu” when, in fact, she had pneumonia and the failure to diagnose this timely killed her.  Because she was a patient at Kaiser Permanente (California’s largest HMO), her family faced two hurdles in trying to obtain compensation for their loss of the love, society, comfort and companionship that this girl would have provided in her lifetime: (1) Mandatory contractual arbitration which every Kaiser patient is forced to sign as a condition of membership and which prevents her case from ever seeing the light of day in front of a jury; and (2) a $250,000 cap on damages in medical negligence claims (an arbitrary number set by law in the 1970’s that has never even been adjusted for inflation much less fairness).  Because of these factors, her precious life’s value was “pre-determined” at $265,000 (basically $15,000 in burial and other “out of pocket” costs and $250,000 for the “non-economic” damages).


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