In Rahm, Plaintiff started experiencing back pain when she was 16. It became worse a few months later and she went to seek treatment from a chiropractor. The chiropractor became concerned about the case of plaintiff's pain and referred her to Kaiser for further evaluation. Conservative treatment was begun but no MRI was ordered.
At one point, plaintiff 's mother laid out the history of plaintiff's conservative care and begged the doctor to order MRI. The doctor ordered MRI, which wasp performed about 4 months after Plaintiff's initial treatment with Kaiser. The MRI revealed that the cause of Plaintiff's pain was a large, aggressive malignant tumor in her pelvis known as pelvic osteosarcoma. Thereafter, Ms. Rahm had to undergo radical surgery to amputate her right leg, remove half of her pelvis, and fuse her spine.
At trial the plaintiff argued that the Kaiser physician refused to give plaintiff an MRI from March 12, 2009 until it was performed on July 2, 2009, which would have revealed plaintiff's cancer much sooner and could have spared plaintiff from losing her leg, requiring a less extensive surgery and less future care. It was also noted that plaintiff and her mother requested MRI on numerous occasions during those months, but those requests were denied, and the medical records didn't even reflect those requests.
The Defendants argued that neither plaintiff nor her mother asked for an MRI before June 2009 and that plaintiff and her mother were the ones who caused the delay in plaintiff's care because they went to acupuncture, yoga, pilates, all outside Kaiser, instead of attending physical therapy at Kaiser in April/May 2009.
Ultimately, after a very lengthy and contentious litigation, plaintiff prevailed getting an aware of over $5m in lost earnings and over $20m in future medical care.
One could only wonder if the reason for not ordering MRI at Kaiser timely in this case, assuming we take the plaintiff's version of events as true, is the same reason that we see over and over - an attempt by a large healthcare provider to save on a pricy test (usually over $1,500) whenever possible.