A state law that hasn’t changed since 1975 caps compensation for families harmed by medical negligence. The limits apply to lost quality of life, even if a patient loses a leg, a child, or is disabled for life. Click on the picture of the map to find patients by the State Senate Districts they live in.
Mario Guzman was a very successful design engineer by day. He designed hardware for semiconductors. He earned his Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. Mario was dedicated to his engineering career but was even more dedicated to the love of his life his wife Ludmila.
Mario and Ludmila met on a blind date in San Jose. It was love at first sight and nine months later they married. Mario knew she was a keeper and his life-long mate.
Always very active, Mario’s passion was triathlons. He spent much of his time biking, running, and swimming. He would rise in the early morning hours to go running before work. It was his passion. He was an Ironman.
On a Saturday morning, Mario and Ludmila decided to take a run together. Well Mario ran and Ludmila took a hike enjoying the day until Mario sprained his ankle. An athlete, Mario was used to sprains but he knew something was different this time.
In a lot of pain with a very swollen foot and suffering from a fever, Mario went to see a doctor. By the time Mario saw the doctor, he could not walk. His appointment lasted 15 minutes. The doctor told him he had a sprain and the flu and ordered an x-ray. The x-ray came back negative for a sprain. He was just told to take ibuprofen which he did. Two days later, Mario still had a fever of 104 and could not walk. The next day he called his provider and the doctor asked if he was breathing okay. He was told to call them back the next day. He had already lost his balance and fallen. Mario had sepsis but he was in such good physical shape that he could still breathe. He called his doctor back the next day reporting a fever of 102 and the doctor told him to stay home, and it was normal to have a temperature for days. Mario and Ludmila sent pictures, continuously called, and tried everything they could to seek medical attention, but the doctor would not listen. By the time Mario was taken to the ER at the end of the week, he was in septic shock. They had to amputate multiple limbs to save his life. Had they waited another hour, Mario would have died. Once an Ironman, now Mario faces life in a wheelchair.
Mario had to undergo emergency surgery that night. He had a 95 percent chance of dying. He was on dialysis due to multiple organ failure and spent 3 weeks in the ICU. They were told to gather their family and prepare for the worst. A primary factor that saved him was that he was in such amazing health and physical shape. Yet his lifelong harm could have been avoided had his doctor run $30 worth of tests and medication.
In order to care for Mario, they had to change their living situation. Mario could no longer work and Ludmila left her job as a chemical engineer. She became a business owner focusing on childcare.
During the ordeal, Mario and his wife made multiple requests for Kaiser to improve their protocols for diagnosing sepsis, all of which were ignored. Despite the fall out, the responsible doctor is still practicing with no disciplinary action.
Due to Kaiser’s mandatory arbitration system, Mario went to confidential arbitration. Because of the 46-year-old cap on compensation for patients injured as a result of medical negligence, there are very few medical malpractice lawyers in California with an even smaller pool of lawyers that will take arbitration cases. The odds were stacked against Mario before he even started. The arbitrator ruled that even though the doctor did not act within the standard of care, they sided with the doctor and ruled against Mario. Mario lost his arbitration and did not receive any compensation for his loss of income, his loss of limbs, and his lifelong harm. Mario continues to advocate for other Californians with the hope of saving someone else from lifelong harm.
Californians will have the chance to vote on the Fairness for Injured Patients Act on the November 2022 ballot. The Fairness Act would update California’s medical malpractice damage cap for nearly 50 years of inflation, and allow judges and juries to decide fair compensation in cases involving catastrophic injury or death. Learn more about this campaign for patient safety.
Meet more patients
Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act
Committee Major Funding from:
Consumer Watchdog Campaign Nonprofit 501(c)(4)