LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST CALIFORNIA HOSPITAL FOR DEATH OF MAN WHO FAINTED WHEN ASKED TO ASSIST IN WIFEíS EPIDURAL

A rather bizarre incident in a California hospital delivery room has left a 33-year-old man dead and his 32-year-old wife a widow.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jeanette Passalaqua against Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Southern California Permanente Medical Group Inc. in San Bernadino County state court alleges, that in June 2004, Steven Passalaqua was present in the hospital delivery room during for the birth of his second child when he was asked by Kaiser staff to hold and steady his wife while an epidural needle was inserted into her back.

Unfortunately, Mr. Passalaqua fainted at the sight of the needle. As he fell, he struck his head on an aluminum cap molding at the base of the wall. As a result of the fall, Mr. Passalaqua suffered a brain hemorrhage. Later that day, Jeanette Passalaqua gave birth to a boy. Two days later, Steven Passalaqua died.

The lawsuit seeks damages related to Mr. Passalaqua’s death as well as for his wife’s emotional distress. She must now raise her two young children on her own. The complaint alleges that since Kaiser staff specifically requested Mr. Passalaqua to assist in the epidural procedure, the hospital “owed him a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries resulting from his participation.”

While a hospital spokesman referred to the death as a “tragic accident,” he pointed out that the claims made in the complaint are in the form of allegations and must await resolution by the legal system.

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