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"The ordeal that our entire family went through showed us quite painfully that sepsis can be much more serious and aggressive than people realize."
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 22, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- An estimated 225,000 people die each year from some form of medical malpractice, from incorrect dosages to surgical errors, to the wrong diagnosis- the third most common reason for death in the United States. And, only a shocking 2% of those who suffer from medical malpractice ever file claims for compensation with sadly even fewer ever receive compensation for their injury, failing health, or pain and suffering. Following a medical malpractice lawsuit, on February 11th, 2022, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group has been found guilty of negligence in the death of former professional tennis player Ken Flach. As a result, the Kaiser Permanente group will be required to issue the surviving members of Mr. Flach's family – his widow Christina, and their four children – an award of $2.885 million. Sadly, this award to the victim's family is not the norm for most families and occurred due to the fact the victim in this case was a celebrity.
The arbitrator in this case ruled that the way a nurse and doctor handled incoming calls from the Flachs was below an acceptable standard of care. On March 7, 2018, at approximately noon, Mrs. Flach told the nurse that she had never seen her husband so sick and that he was exhibiting symptoms such as chest pain and profound weakness. Rather than sending Mr. Flach straight into an emergency room or to an in-person visit with a general practitioner, the nurse scheduled a phone call with Mr. Flach's primary care physician, to take place four hours later.
The phone call with the doctor lasted a mere three minutes. Neither the nurse nor the doctor recognized the severity of Mr. Flach's condition. The primary physician advised Mr. Flach to take several over-the-counter and prescribed medications and call him if it got worse. The following morning, Mr. Flach's condition had deteriorated to the point where his wife believed he was in a state of emergency and she drove him to the Kaiser San Rafael Hospital emergency room.
At the hospital, it was discovered by emergency room physicians that Mr. Flach had a severe case of community-acquired pneumonia that was getting worse due to him also being infected with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). The ER physicians also found that Mr. Flach had acute respiratory failure, renal failure, septic shock, hemoptysis and neutropenia, all presumed from severe community-acquired pneumonia.
Mr. Flach was put on multiple antibiotics within the next few hours, but by then the illness had progressed too far, and he died on March 12, 2018. The official cause of death was listed as pneumonia, leading to respiratory failure. But the septic shock dramatically worsened the illness.
In the wake of losing her husband, Mrs. Flach has taken up the fight against sepsis. In April 2018, one month after his death, Mrs. Flach was contacted by the Sepsis Alliance, the leading sepsis organization in the United States. For nearly four years, Mrs. Flach has partnered with the Sepsis Alliance to raise awareness for sepsis.
Over this time, Mrs. Flach has worked with the Sepsis Alliance on several sepsis awareness campaigns that featured ads seen by hundreds of thousands of passengers on public transportation throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Golden Gate Ferry.
"The ordeal that our entire family went through showed us quite painfully that sepsis can be much more serious and aggressive than people realize," she said. "It's my goal to see to it that everyone knows about these potential dangers."
Over the course of a professional tennis career that spanned the '80s and '90s, Ken Flach was one of the world's finest doubles players, winning 36 doubles titles, including two apiece at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics alongside his longstanding partner, Robert Seguso. In 1985, Mr. Flach reached a career high ranking of number one in the world in doubles.
About Christina Flach
GRIEF WITH GRACE As a kid, Christina was with her mother until the very end as she battled cancer. In 2006, her infant son passed away on Christmas morning. In 2018, Christina's husband, professional tennis player Ken Flach, succumbed to sepsis. Through her grief, Christina found a new purpose. Along with being a CEO and mother, Christina spends her time spreading awareness of sepsis and sharing her battle with grief, and teaches others how to smile in the face of tragedy. For more information about sepsis, visit Sepsis.org.
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