An 8-year-old boy awoke early in the morning complaining of intense groin pain. His mother called Kaiser’s “Nursing Hotline” for guidance, describing her son’s symptoms to a telephone nurse. Despite complaints of severe pain and persistent vomiting, she was given an appointment for later that afternoon. On calling back to see if she could bring her son in earlier, the mother was told that her son’s condition was not an emergency and to wait for the appointment time. Upon arriving at the appointment, they were seen by a doctor who accurately diagnosed his condition as testicular torsion, a medical emergency. More than two hours after seeing the doctor and ten hours after the onset of symptoms, the boy was finally taken into surgery where his testicle was removed. It was determined that the testicle could easily have been saved if Kaiser had acted with reasonable care and instructed the mother to bring the boy in immediately. Kaiser offered $75,000 to settle the matter, which was rejected. Kevin G. Liebeck and T. Gabe Houston of Hodes Milman, LLP, represented the plaintiff in a four-day arbitration, resulting in an award of $157,500 for medical expenses and psychological trauma, as well as a costs award of $18,050, for a total award of $175,550—more than twice what Kaiser was willing to pay in settlement.
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