Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen
In April 2019, Regina White had been feeling discomfort and pain in her abdomen which led her to call her regular doctor early that morning and was told by a nurse that she had to get to Kaiser Permanente hospital immediately. She had to drive herself to the hospital around 5 a.m.
White, 55, had to have her gallbladder removed which her primary doctor, Ralph Herrera, failed to discover was highly toxic and the cause of her pain despite nine appointments with him in two months before the emergency surgery according to medical records.
After surgery, a doctor told White the problems that caused her gallbladder to be removed “had been going on for some time.”
Following the surgery, she developed a constellation of symptoms ranging from skin rashes, weight loss, eye discoloration, and hair loss.
“I’m going to the doctor every week or two weeks,” White said. “I’ve lost all of my hair.”
Dr. Herrera diagnosed White with a fungal infection and prescribed a treatment that didn’t improve her skin condition.
After being referred to and seeing five different dermatologists, White was diagnosed with eczema (skin rashes) and alopecia (hair loss) despite her repeatedly requesting other blood work and tests be performed.
“I don’t know what is going on but something’s not right,” White told her doctor. Not only you but every doctor that I saw has said there’s nothing wrong,” White said.
For the next year, White was seen by multiple specialists from dermatology, ENT (ear, nose, and throat), rheumatology, infectious disease, and oncology all performed at Kaiser. White was insured through Kaiser which is an HMO so health coverage is limited to an in-network of doctors and facilities.
“Kaiser refuses to let me go out and get a second opinion. They just kept sending me to doctors within their medical group,” White said.
White, desperate for a second opinion, scheduled an appointment at One Community Health, a non-profit health system licensed by the State of California in Sacramento on May 1, 2021.
When she got to the appointment she was made to wait for over two hours and was told she could not be seen by a doctor. She eventually did make it into the doctor's office that day but was told she could not be seen or treated because of her HMO coverage with Kaiser.
Victoria Dailey, a friend of White’s, accompanied her to Community Health for that visit and says she was shocked and disappointed in what she witnessed that day.
“Regina has a strong personality and she left there crying saying ‘They’re trying to kill me,’” Dailey said.
On May 1, 2021, after she was refused care at Community Health and concerned for her health, Dailey and White’s son drove her to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital.
Mercy Hospital initially admitted White and for a short period was running tests on her only because while the computer system happened to be offline, her coverage through Kaiser was unknown.
Once the computer system came back online she was discharged against her will according to White.
During that time it was discovered that she had skin tissue disorders and a wide range of other never known medical problems which White thinks she has had ever since her gallbladder was removed in 2019.
Blood cultures and labs were taken after being hospitalized at Mercy; she was never informed of the results according to medical records from Community Health.
On May 18, 2021, White was taken to Mercy Hospital emergency room and treated for sepsis.
Following the emergency room visits to Mercy Hospital, White obtained a new primary care physician from Kaiser, Dr. Brunel Brady.
However, White says Brady also neglected to give her proper medical care.
From May 2019 to December 2021, White was seen by Kaiser doctors over 200 times either in person, teleconference, or telephone records show.
As of this January, White has changed coverage and still cannot find a doctor to treat her.
“I’ve gone everywhere but as soon as they find out I was with Kaiser they tell me they can’t see me,” White said.
Community Health began to see White in May of 2021 and on January 4, 2022, had an appointment where the doctor was helpful.
But at White’s next visit on January 25, she was told by the same doctor that they couldn’t treat her because they are “being restricted.”
White filed a complaint to the California Department of Managed Health Care which found multiple Kaiser doctors failed to diagnose her medical condition and altered her medical records.
In its response, Managed Health Care said its review does not prevent her from pursuing other legal options which may be available, including contacting an attorney.
“I am desperate to obtain proper care and compensation for pain and suffering for the last three years,” White said. “This madness has me overwhelmed.”