A state law that hasn’t changed since 1975 caps compensation for families harmed by medical negligence. The limits apply to lost quality of life, even if a patient loses a leg, a child, or is disabled for life. Click on the picture of the map to find patients by the State Senate Districts they live in.
Dr. Keith Blair
Dr. Keith Blair was a retired dentist having practiced for over 50 years in San Diego. He was the President of the San Diego Dental Society and he was the editor of the San Diego Bulletin, the California Dental Association monthly journal, and the magazine for the International College of Dentists.
Devoted to his patients, he listed his home phone number in the phone directory making himself available to his patients at all hours. If a patient called him at 10:00 pm with a toothache, he would meet his patient at his office that night to put them at ease. He considered dentistry his calling.
An avid reader of the news, he would write editorials on dentistry. Having been called upon to fix bad dental work, he would testify in court on behalf of patients. He had the utmost respect for medical professionals. If he had an appointment with a doctor, it was called a consultation. So, it was even more of a betrayal that he would be harmed in a system that he devoted his life to, and after having committed much of his practice to the safety of his patients.
At 79, Dr. Blair chose to retire to be by his wife’s side through her battle with breast cancer. Following his wife’s death, he lived on his own for five years and was very independent. In time, he moved in with his daughter.
Dr. Blair took care of himself, saw his general doctor regularly, and knew he had to speak to his doctor when he started having trouble with severe back pain.
His doctor recommended a hospital stay for testing. Thinking he was only going to be in the hospital for a few days, Dr. Blair was admitted. What should have been a brief hospital stay turned into a nightmare.
Without informing his family, Dr. Blair was placed on a powerful cocktail of antipsychotics like Risperdal and Haldol that caused a sudden mental decline.
When his family could not awaken him and found him unresponsive, they sought answers from his doctor. The doctor said that he had developed sudden onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and moved him to a nursing home.
While at the nursing home, he was given more drugs without consent. There he fell seven times, suddenly became diabetic, and acquired a MRSA infection. His decline was rapid. After the last fall, his family was told that his heart and his kidneys were failing. He passed away just a few weeks later.
After his death, his family obtained his medical records. They discovered that his consent forms were falsified, including a do not resuscitate order Dr. Blair had never signed. His back pain turned out to be spinal stenosis a condition that can be easily treated with over the counter medication. At his funeral, his family vowed to seek answers.
They learned of California’s 45-year-old compensation cap when they sought the advice of an attorney. They were told by multiple attorneys that they had a case, but it was not worth much due to their father’s age and retirement status. They were forced into arbitration by the nursing home. Once in arbitration, an attorney dropped any further legal action because, due to the cap, their options were limited.
As a health care professional, Dr. Blair gave hours of free care to priests and nuns. He gave his time to the Nazareth House, a boarding school for foster children, where he would provide free care to the at-risk children who resided there. His passion was health care and providing the best possible care to his patients. Yet, he was not given the best possible care in his time of need and became a victim of medical negligence.
Californians will have the chance to vote on the Fairness for Injured Patients Act on the November 2022 ballot. The Fairness Act would update California’s medical malpractice damage cap for nearly 50 years of inflation, and allow judges and juries to decide fair compensation in cases involving catastrophic injury or death. Learn more about this campaign for patient safety.
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