Cali Andrist, 58 years old, was a mentally retarded woman who had the learning ability of a four year old child.
In 2012, one day, she complained of terrible stomach pain on waking up. The same evening her brother, Eric, who was taking care of her full-time, took her to see the ER at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center located in Burbank, CA. After she received the reports of her CT scan, doctors thought that she suffered with a small bowel obstruction and admitted her for the same.
While the second CT scan was being performed on her, Cali went through cardiac arrest. It was most likely caused by an adverse combination of a radioactive medium she was given for the scan and a strong painkiller that was rendered for her pain, both of which were prescribed by Dr. Sharad Patel. According to Cali’s brother, Dr. Patel never performed a complete physical examination or tests on Cali. If he would have barely stayed in the room for 5 minutes, it would have been clear that she had multiple contraindications for both medications. Her autopsy depicted that the combined weight of her lungs had come to be 1700 grams. It was nearly 3 times the normal values, as the normal combined weight should be around 600 grams. This resulted because of the improper medication prescribed by Dr. Patel. The painkiller she received caused her to aspirate the radioactive medium, which went into her lungs. This caused pulmonary edema, which further sent her into cardiac arrest.
Further in the case, the hospital personnel made an incorrect judgement thinking that Cali should not receive resuscitation as per her medical records. So they did not even resuscitate her immediately. A Code Blue was finally called, only when her brother and another nurse came to know what was happening. Cali was revived 17 minutes later, but it had been too late by then, as she was nearly brain dead by that time.
Cali died the following day.
The medical record depicted that Cali had presented numerous symptoms of sepsis since the time she entered the ER. Dr. Patel could never diagnose any of it, which led to the shutting down of her organs one by one. It was revealed that her bowel was not only obstructed, but strangulated, which led to leaking of poisons into her abdomen, further causing severe sepsis. This condition needed to be treated immediately and aggressively.
Since Cali was originally unable to work due to her disability, was unmarried and didn’t have any children, her life was valued at just $250,000 by California’s MICRA law. That almost prevented her brother from filing a lawsuit on Cali’s behalf. He was lucky to have found a lawyer who believed that things had gone terribly wrong in this case. He then caused the case to be settled out of court in 2015.
Ironically, Cali and Eric’s mother had also died at the same Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, a few months after actor John Ritter’s death. Actress Alicia Cole also visited this hospital when she contracted ‘flesh eating disease’ which caused a major portion of her abdomen to be nonfunctional, and she nearly died.