Originally Published At: http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0,1413,204~21474~2957427,00.html
Long Beach Press Telegram
Widow sues Kaiser in delivery room tragedy
Suit alleges hospital negligence after husband collapsed
By by Associated Press
Friday, July 08, 2005 - SAN BERNARDINO — A widowed
mother of two sued
the Kaiser hospital system alleging her husband fainted while helping
give birth and fatally struck his head when he fell.
The lawsuit claims Steven Passalaqua, 33, died
last year after he was
asked to help hold his wife, Jeanette, while a needle was inserted in
back for an epidural anesthetic injection during labor.
"This avoidable tragedy was a direct result of
Kaiser's ordinary negligence
in failing to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries
to Steven," according to the suit, which was filed last week in San
County Superior Court.
Mrs. Passalaqua, 32, of Riverside County, is the
mother of a daughter,
Amanda, and a son, Justin.
The suit alleges wrongful death and negligent
infliction of emotional
distress. It seeks burial expenses and unspecified damages from Kaiser
Foundation Hospitals and Southern California Permanente Medical Group
"This was a tragic accident. The family has
suffered a great loss… Everybody's
heart has to go out," Kaiser spokesman Jim Anderson said Friday.
He declined to comment on specifics of the suit.
"Some of the allegations in the lawsuit are just
The legal process is under way and we should respect that," he said.
According to the lawsuit, Mrs. Passalaqua was
delivering her son on
June 30, 2004, at a Kaiser hospital the suit did not name.
"Jeanette was shaking, and Kaiser's employee
requested that Steven put
his arms around her and hold her during the administration of the
the suit said.
The first attempt to inject her failed. During the
saw the needle enter his wife's spine, said "here we go again,"
his wife, lost consciousness and fell backwards, hitting his head on an
aluminum cap molding at the base of a wall, according to the suit.
Passalaqua suffered a fractured skull and bleeding
on the brain that
worsened and he died two days later, the suit said.