Lawsuit Filed: Long Beach Memorial Medical Center Sued for Medical Negligence

Long Beach, Calif.— University of California, Irvine medical residents and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center employees were providing medical diagnosis, care and treatment to Kristina Brightbill. However, it’s alleged that from October 2, 2015 through November 3, 2015, the time in which Brightbill was a patient, the facility and staff negligently cared for, diagnosed, evaluated and treated her stroke, causing her to suffer significant injury.

“The facility’s lack of attention and monitoring is simply unacceptable. Had they accurately reported Kristina’s condition and further examined her medical diagnoses, they could have potentially prevented her injuries,” said attorney Stephen Garcia. “As a result of this apparent negligence, Kristina’s health has deteriorated, and she suffers from great mental and physical pain—all of which could have been barred had the facility diagnosed her in a timely manner.”

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against University of California Board of Regents and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for medical negligence, loss of consortium, and negligent hiring and supervision.

Allegations & Background

On October 2, 2015, Brightbill was at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center with her child who was being evaluated and treated for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, when she began to experience the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The lawsuit alleges the below timeline and series of events that followed Brightbill’s medical emergency.

  • Brightbill was evaluated in the Emergency Room at 1:42 PM.
  • Brightbill was then evaluated by an ER physician around 1:58 PM and was noted to have blurred vision and was tremulous.
  • Prior to arriving in the emergency room, Brightbill had self-injected epinephrine, a medication commonly used for conditions including anaphylaxis or cardiac arrest.
  • At 2:28 PM, Brightbill began experiencing an increase in her symptoms which she believed to be an allergic reaction. The ER doctor was notified.
  • At 3:06 PM, the ER doctor ordered an MRI not pursuant to the stroke protocol.
  • Nurses notes indicated that MRI was not called until 4:27 PM and the MRI was not complete until sometime after 6:50 PM, more than three hours after it was ordered.
  • During the MRI, there was excessive movement rendering the MRI non-diagnostic of all areas of the brain. Despite this, no additional MRI was ordered.
  • At 9:02 PM, it was reported that Brightbill could no longer speak. Despite this finding, the doctor took no action other than to transfer Brightbill.
  • At an unknown time, the doctor consulted with two other doctors who suggested ICU admission and an MRI of the head. Neither physician had any progress note or note in the ED chart.
  • Brightbill was later admitted to the ICU at approximately 9:30 PM.
  • It was noted that Brightbill had reported arm and tongue numbness in the ER and that she had become unable to speak. It was further noted that she had a contracted left arm and clenching teeth. No diagnosis of a stroke was made.
  • The following day, Brightbill’s condition continued to deteriorate and required intubation. Throughout the day, Brightbill received more tests and another MRI.
  • On October 6, 2015, a CTA scan of the head and neck diagnosed the existence of a complete occlusion of the basilar artery, the same result that was noted on the MRI taken several days earlier.

Due to the facility’s delayed diagnosis of Brightbill’s basilar artery stroke, it led to “locked in syndrome” rendering her completely unable to move any extremity, unable to consume any food, unable to speak and totally dependent on the care of others.