Kaiser Permanente of Northern California (KPNC) has settled five malpractice claims stemming from its defunct kidney transplant program for a total of $1 million.
Three of the cases were based on wrongful-death charges, with plaintiffs accusing Kaiser of delaying decisions for so long that the patients died before they could receive transplants.
A fourth patient claimed Kaiser repeatedly refused a donor; ultimately she received the kidney elsewhere a year-and-a-half later. The fifth charged Kaiser with inadequate postoperative care that eventually led to organ rejection.
Settlements ranged from $100,000 to $300,000 based on actual economic damages. A 1975 California law affected several settlements, limiting awards for pain and suffering to $250,000.
KPNC opened its renal transplant center in San Francisco in 2004 and closed it three years ago after state and federal investigations documented poor management and botched care. The state Department of Managed Health Care eventually imposed a $2 million fine and ordered Kaiser to donate $3 million to a nonprofit program than encourages organ donation.