Husband Files Civil Rights Lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Alleging Wrongful Death of Wife

Gavel with open book and scales on table
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Gavel with open book and scales on tableBy Cheyenne Galloway

LOS ANGELES, CA — Charles Johnson filed a civil rights lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Hospital here this week in the death of his wife, Kira Dixon Johnson. It is set to go to trial May 11.

Under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, private businesses in California are prohibited from discriminating against people based on race and other protected classes.

However, Charles Johnson charges that for Kira Johnson this was not the case, and she passed away in childbirth on April 13, 2016.

According to the pleading, Kira was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital on April 12, 2016, around 12:30 p.m. for her scheduled cesarean delivery, which was executed by a Dr. Arjang Naim.

The complaint notes that by 3 p.m. Kira was relocated from the operating room to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Approximately two hours following this relocation, blood-tinged urine was spotted in her Foley catheter. Shortly after, around 5:24 p.m. Kira’s Foley catheter was draining blood.

Dr. Naim, said the lawsuit, performed her surgery, and was made aware of Kira’s current situation, nevertheless, the hospital faculty failed to quickly order a “surgical emergency” CT scan. Ultimately, Kira never received the scan.

Kira was not taken to surgery until 12:30 a.m., despite the fact that her condition was visibly declining.

According to “Angelique Washington,” who was present during this time, “The room started looking like a crime scene…There was no sense of urgency…Very disturbing having attendings conversing, acting like they didn’t know what to do.”

The pleading said Kira was found dead at 2:22 a.m., on April 13, 2016, due to a severe loss of blood in her abdomen. Her official autopsy stated “that the cause of death was due to hemorrhagic shock, due to acute hemoperitoneum,”’ otherwise known as massive internal bleeding.

Depositions from Washington, Kelly Klepacki and other faculty members from the hospital, charged the lawsuit, reveal “conspicuous perceptions of racism among certain workers.

In her deposition, Washington stated, “Because you do have racism very much so in the operating room…This patient is lying here trusting Cedars-Sinai, trusting me, trusting the team that we’re going to give them the fair, effective high-quality care—patient care.”

She added, “But yet, on the undertone, this patient is under anesthesia and the surgeon is saying certain things about Black people or the Black race.”

In Klepacki’s deposition, according to the court filing, she said of the ill practices of Cedars-Sinai, “when things go bad, we just ship ‘em to ICU. Then if they die there it doesn’t count against us.’…I thought, is this, are we working on the lab cats we worked on in autonomy? These are just nameless, faceless lab specimens that we’re practicing on, and they mean nothing?”

Klepacki added, “Do you not understand who this woman was? These are people…this is a habitual practice of Cedars. And the fact that, even though we have a devastating…event, that’s not going to change the practice…I did not realize this was their standard of care.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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