Cali Andrist was a 58-year-old woman with mental disability.
In 2012, she woke with terrible stomach pain, and that evening her brother, Eric who was her full-time caregiver, took her to the ER at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, CA. After she revived a CT scan, doctors admitted her with what they thought was a small bowel obstruction.
While she was getting a second CT scan, Cali went into cardiac arrest that may have been caused by an improper combination of a radioactive medium she was given for the scan and a powerful painkiller administered for her pain.
The hospital personnel incorrectly thought Cali had a “do not resuscitate” order in her medical record and did not attempt to resuscitate her immediately. Until her brother and another nurse caught on to what was happening, a code blue was finally called. Cali was revived 17 minutes later, but it was too late, she was nearly brain dead.
She died the next day.
The medical record showed Cali exhibited numerous symptoms of severe sepsis from the time she entered the ER that were ignored and led to the shutting down of her organs; It turned out that her small bowel was not obstructed, but strangulated, leaking poisons into her abdomen that led to severe sepsis.
Even though Cali was unable to work due to her disability and had no family of her own, California’s 1975 cap on compensation for injured patients valued her life at just $250,000. That cap nearly prevented her brother from filing a lawsuit on her behalf. He was lucky to have found a lawyer who believed a terrible wrong was done, and the case was settled out of court in 2015.