It's been a rough three years for Dusten Chevalier. Before the 27-year-old became confined to a wheelchair, he loved the outdoors. Racing dirt bikes, football, baseball, he did it all. But Chevalier says that all changed after he ended up in a Kaiser Permenente emergency room, in Fresno.
“It all started off with my stomach hurting and I actually got my appendix taken out. When I got home my if side was kind of hurting and was a little red. So we went back to the ER. Come to find out, I had an infection but they never told me any of this. I didn't even know I had a blood test pending,” said Chevalier.
He says the hospital failed to tell him that he tested positive for MRSA, an infection that could be fatal. The infection went untreated and he eventually lost the use of his legs and feet.
“At first it didn't seem real. It was hard to even imagine my life now, because before I was really into sports everything I did was outside. It was hard. It still is. Every day is really hard, but I don't know I'm just thankful I'm alive because I could have died,” expressed Chevalier.
Chevalier took Kaiser to court. After a month long battle, The jury verdict included damages in the total amount of $5,000,000.
Kaiser Permanente released a statement regarding this case that reads in part, “Kaiser Permanente, immediately after diagnosing the patient's infection, made repeated attempts to contact him to get him the treatment he needed. This was to no avail, as he provided inaccurate addresses and contact information. Kaiser Permanente went so far as to contact the Clovis Police Department to help locate the patient to get him to come in for treatment. Given these facts the jury found that, for the most part, much of the responsibility in this case fell upon the plaintiff himself, thus reducing the award by 70%.” This means Kaiser will only need to pay Chevalier 1.5 million dollars.
Chevalier claims he provided Kaiser with accurate contact information. Medical experts say the cost of his care will cost millions of dollars over the course of his lifetime.
Chevalier's attorney says this is the first time a Fresno County Jury ruled against Kaiser Permanente in a malpractice case.