Jury: Kaiser's Delayed MRI Cost Teen Her Leg

Teen had amputation because of fast-growing tumor
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2015 2:21 PM CDT
Jury: Kaiser's Delayed MRI Cost Teen Her Leg
A Kaiser Permanente facility in California.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Jurors in California think a big health-care company's reluctance to order an MRI cost a teenager her leg—and they awarded her $28 million in compensation. The Los Angeles Times reports that Anna Rahm went to Kaiser Permanente in 2009 with severe back pain and requested the test as part of her treatment. Instead, the 17-year-old was referred to a nutritionist and an accupuncture specialist. Three months later, Kaiser ordered the MRI, which revealed a fast-growing tumor. Doctors amputated the teen's right leg and part of her spine and pelvis.

“If it were caught earlier, her limb could have been salvaged,” says Rahm's attorney. Kaiser says its doctors followed appropriate protocol and hasn't decided whether to appeal. One issue at play is that Kaiser is both a health-care provider and an insurer. "Some have argued that while this may be good for Kaiser’s business, it’s not necessarily good for the patients to have their HMO actually employing their physicians," writes Chris Morran at the Consumerist. (More Kaiser Permanente stories.)

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