Riverside: Doctor failed to properly diagnose stroke patient
June 10, 2011
By LORA HINES
A Riverside woman has been awarded more than $1.2 million after an arbitrator found that her Kaiser Permanente doctor did not properly diagnose and treat symptoms that might have prevented her 2009 stroke.
Linda De La Rosa, who was 42, had a stroke on Jan. 2, 2009, less than two weeks after she went to Dr. Francis Chu complaining of decreased vision, seeing flashes of light and feeling pressure near one of her eyes, according to court records.
Chu examined De La Rosa on Dec. 22, 2008, and ordered a brain scan, which didn't reveal signs of brain bleeding or masses.
However, Chu didn't order an MRI, which experts testified probably would have revealed signs that De La Rosa might have had a mini stroke and could suffer a more debilitating and life-threatening stroke.
De La Rosa's January 2009 stroke left her with permanent weakness on her left side and diminished feeling on her right side, court documents state.
Tests performed after De La Rosa's stroke showed a large blood clot on one of her arteries, according to court records.
Arbitrator John W. Kennedy Jr. ruled that proper diagnostic testing and treatment would have revealed De La Rosa's problem and prevented a stroke.
Dr. Francis Chu has a valid medical license and no history of problems with the Medical Board of California.
He still works at Kaiser's Riverside medical center, according to health care provider's website.
Kaiser spokesman Jim Anderson said officials disagree with the arbitrator's decision, but will abide by it.
Chu had been De La Rosa's doctor for eight years before her stroke, court records state. De La Rosa's attorney Robert Vaage said Chu knew that De La Rosa was at risk for getting blood clots and suspected that one of the possible causes for her vision problems and eye pressure could have been a mini stroke.
Vaage said that Chu should have ruled out a mini stroke to prevent the possibility of De La Rosa having a more devastating stroke.
De La Rosa's arbitration award includes compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income and future medical care, Vaage said.