Mother with MS dies of Covid after being wrongly told by doctor she couldn’t get vaccine, family claims

Attorneys for family say she was wrongly denied vaccine seven times before it was too late

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 27 January 2022 18:03 GMT

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A healthy Californian mother-of-three living with multiple sclerosis died from Covid-19 after being told by her healthcare provider she should not be vaccinated against the virus, her family claims.

Attorneys speaking on behalf of the family said at a news conference that they will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente, ABC 7 reports.

Nerissa Regnier, 45, of Mission Viejo, died on 16 December. She is survived by her husband Devin, and her children aged 14, 16, and 29. The family further alleges that she was denied monoclonal antibody treatment when she fell ill.

Attorney Annee Della Donna said that in February 2021 Ms Regnier was placed on a new regimen of medication to manage her MS, which suppressed her immune system.

When she asked about getting one of the Covid-19 vaccines, Ms Della Donna claimed that Ms Regnier was told she could not have it because it contained a “live virus” – which is false.

None of the available Covid-19 vaccines contain a live virus.

“When you’re immunocompromised you need the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Ms Della Donna at a news conference on Wednesday.

She asked for it seven times over the next six months and was told each time she could not receive a “live” vaccine, the attorney alleged.

In August, Ms Regnier finally emailed her neurologist and asked him about the vaccines. He told her she needed to get vaccinated.

“Two days later she runs over to Kaiser to get the Covid vaccine and she’s feeling symptoms so they test her and she’s got Covid,” Ms Della Donna said.

Ms Regnier was given antibiotics and steroids neither of which Ms Della Donna alleges are recommended and can be harmful.

Attorney Eric Dubin said that her husband had her discharged from the Kaiser hospital in Irvine, California when she was denied monoclonal antibody treatment, and drove her to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, where she was told it was too late for the treatment.

Ms Regnier was stabilised at Hoag and then taken back to Kaiser, where she later died, Ms Della Donna said.

“Twice, this husband relied on Kaiser for medical guidance and twice they failed him,” Mr Dubin said, adding: “It’s a devastating case.”

Ms Regnier worked as a realtor and was a “healthy mom”, who was “very active in the community”, according to Ms Della Donna. She had her MS under control thanks to two treatments each year.

Ms Della Donna said the family saw the news conference as a “public service announcement”.

“If you’re told you shouldn’t get the vaccine because it’s a live vaccine that’s just flat-out wrong. And everybody whose immune system is down needs to get the vaccine. That’s why we’re doing this. We don’t want this poor woman’s life to be taken in vain,” the attorney said.

Kaiser Permanente issued a statement expressing deep condolences to the family of Ms Regnier.

“While we cannot comment on personal health information or the specific circumstances of this case, our physicians and health care professionals are dedicated to ensuring every individual treated at Kaiser Permanente receives the highest quality health care appropriate for their situation,” the statement reads.

“Treatments for Covid-19 continue to rapidly evolve, and in consultation with each patient, we prescribe care that is intended to provide the best clinical outcomes based on current knowledge and their individual needs.”

Kaiser Permanente further states: “Additionally, we have clearly communicated to our members, patients and the public that none of the available Covid-19 vaccines contain the live virus and that they are safe and effective.”

The healthcare provider adds that since vaccines first became available it has been consistently committed to administering them safely and equitably in accordance with all federal and state guidelines.

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