When you become a patient of Kaiser, you sign a form that says you agree not to sue the hospital for medical mistakes like IV infiltration.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse.
There’s arbitration and one Sacramento family is standing up for their daughter that way, they say, to keep other children from being hurt.
When Mia Stevens looks back at her childhood, giggly days at the park and the pool won’t be the only things in her scrapbook.
“From the beginning we knew it was bad, but then it was just, like, it kept getting worse,” said Mia’s mom, Andrea Stevens.
The result was third-degree burns on the tender right arm of an 18-month-old girl.
And it didn’t come from an accident at home.
Her parents say the injury happened at Kaiser Permanente in Roseville.
“I noticed that she had a boil,” said her mother.
Little Mia ended up at Kaiser for treatment of a MRSA-related boil.
MRSA is a staph bacterium that lives on anyone’s skin.
It only causes problems if it enters the body through something like a cut. Then, it can be deadly.
Mia’s parents say that threat was nothing in comparison with the crisis she would face next.
“So the first try it didn’t succeed and she’s crying and crying. And the second time, it didn’t succeed and then the third time. I’m like, ‘Maybe we should like stop,’” said Stevens.
Stevens is talking about the attempt to pump needed antibiotics into her daughter’s tiny right hand.
She says the Kaiser nurses were struggling, taking more than two hours to get the IV in correctly.
“She was counting, too. She said she stopped at 20. HHHow many times they stuck her, from the feet to the arm,” said Charles Stevens, Mia’s father.
Prick after prick.
The Stevens say they tried to get Kaiser’s nurses to take a break or bring in a phlebotomist to insert the IV, but they were told doctors wanted her nurses to stay in Mia’s room until it was in.
And they say one nurse had other plans.
“She was already scheduled to be off work. She had this party, but had to get this IV in,” said Andrea.
And according to the Stevens’ attorney, Moseley Collins, when that IV was finally in, Mia’s biggest problems began.
“They were pumping the antibiotics not into her vein, where they were supposed to, but they were pumping it into her hand itself,” said Collins.
Despite a constantly beeping IV machine, Mia’s family says no member of the hospital staff seemed to notice the IV infiltration for six hours.
Restraints designed to prevent the toddler from moving her arms, prevented her parents from seeing what they felt was just not right.
“They kept them straight like this, and it covered up the whole hand and whole arm, all the way up to her shoulder,” said Charles.
“Finally, the nurse looked at her IV and then she acted weird. She hurried up and took it off – like fast and she was like, ‘help me,’” said Andrea Stevens.
“Her hand swelled up like the Michelin tire man and it was so caustic in her hand and under her skin that it began to destroy her skin and eat it like an acid,” said Collins.
“She was screaming and it was just bleeding and leaking. It was pretty bad,” said Andrea.
“The male nurse told me that, ‘we know it was our fault,’” said Charles.
Mangers of Kaiser Roseville are now admitting guilt as well.
A statement sent to FOX40 reads in part, “We are very sorry that this occurred and understand how distressing it is for Mia and her family. A situation like this should not occur.”
What came next for Mia were dizzying days of trying to fix the damage at a different hospital, treatment that included scraping off burnt skin without anesthesia.
Since the incident, Mia wears a compression glove to preserve function and prevent blistering of new skin grafted to the area.
She’ll also have to face more surgeries to handle any complications from the repairs.
Now, the Stevens are going after the hospital that has painfully altered their daughter’s life forever.
For its part, Kaiser is also saying, “Our policy is to assess all IV sites frequently – as often as needed and at a minimum, every two hours. In this case, we failed to do so and we are taking steps to make sure that it does not happen again. We apologize to Mia and her family.”
“We knew deep down inside that it was wrong. it was not done right and you know that when we basically spoke up for our daughter it still wasn’t enough,” said Andrea.
Collins says Kaiser representatives have told them they want to resolve this case.
He’s given them until Sept. 28 to declare that officially. If there’s no response, he intends to move forward with binding arbitration.
Financial damages to cover Mia’s ongoing care are part of the settlement Collins is seeking for his clients, as well a requirement that within 6 months Kaiser Roseville conduct an education session for its nurses about proper IV insertion.
The Stevens family says they’ve made their private pain public to encourage other parents not to be intimidated when they feel something’s wrong with their child’s care.