4/25/2012 10:22:00 AM,
Philip A. Janquart
(CN) - A San Diego man says in court that he was shocked a blood-sugar kit he used on a "whim" gauged his glucose at more than 10 times the healthy level, since his doctors at Kaiser never said it had diagnosed him with diabetes two years previously.
"On February 1, 2011, plaintiff Jimmy Steen noted that he had an unquenchable thirst and was urinating more than usual," the complaint states. "On a whim, plaintiff Jimmy Steen decided to check his blood sugar with a friend's blood-sugar kit. It was then revealed to plaintiff Jimmy Steen that he had a blood sugar level of 505. This was the first notice plaintiff Jimmy Steen ever had that there was a problem with his blood sugar."
Doctors usually test for diabetes when blood-sugar levels exceed 200 mg per deciliter, according to the A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia.
But Steen says Kaiser never informed him during any of his regular checkups that his blood work revealed abnormalities.
After seeing the alarming number, a hallmark of hyperglycemia, Steen allegedly checked into a Kaiser emergency room.
When Kaiser staff read Steen's blood-glucose level at 425, they "immediately administered an injection of insulin, and, for the first time, informed Jimmy Steen that he was diabetic and that, from a review of his medical records, had been diabetic for at least the last two years," according to the complaint.
"Kaiser's medical staff expressed frustration with plaintiff Jimmy Steen for not treating his diabetes over the last two years, allowing the disease to deteriorate his health and cause permanent damage," he says. "The Kaiser medical staff was shocked to learn that plaintiff Jimmy Steen's prior primary care physician, defendant Dr. Brett Harris Wolff, had never informed plaintiff Jimmy Steen that he suffered from diabetes nor provided plaintiff Jimmy Steen any guidance, instruction, counseling or medication to address the symptoms and effects of his diabetes, or to prevent the permanent damage to his body that would inevitably arise with untreated diabetes."
Prolonged lack of treatment caused Steen to sustain peripheral damage to his vital organs, his skin, eyes and extremities, which will require "expensive, invasive, disfiguring and extensive medical treatment," according to the complaint.
Untreated diabetes can lead to nerve and organ damage, and tissue death, most commonly in toes, feet, fingers and hands, which can lead to amputations.
Steen's attorney, Neal Markowitz with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire, confirmed that Steen has not had any amputations.
Steen filed suit along with his wife, seeking damages for medical negligence and loss of consortium.