BYLINE: Preston Turegano, Tribune Staff Writer
SECTION: LOCAL; Pg. B-1
LENGTH: 387 words
The mother of Heather O'Rourke, the juvenile star of the horror films "Poltergeist" and "Poltergeist II" who died here Feb. 1 at age 12, has filed a wrongful death suit in San Diego Superior Court. The suit filed today is against Kaiser Foundation Hospital of San Diego and Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
The action was taken by Kathleen O'Rourke Peel, Heather O'Rourke's mother and administrator of her daughter's estate. The O'Rourke family lives in Lakeside.
Heather also was survived by her father, Jim. "The doctors failed to recognize that she (Heather) had had a bowel obstruction since birth and misdiagnosed her condition," Sanford M. Gage, a Los Angeles attorney said today.
"As a result they prescribed medication instead of a relatively simple operation that would have cured her." Heather starred in "Poltergeist" and "Poltergeist II" and performed work in the soon-to-be-released "Poltergeist III."
She was notable for saying "They're heeeeere" in the first film, referring to an army of ghosts that first make themselves known to a young girl, Carol Ann, and later terrorize the girl and her middle-class, suburban family.
In the second film, Heather uttered, "They're baaaaaack." Heather had been under the general care of Kaiser Permanente since birth, Gage said. According to attorneys, the child actress was a "victim of medical malpractice." "Had a proper diagnosis been made and appropriate treatment rendered, she would be alive today," Gage said. Officials for Kaiser could not be reached for comment. Heather developed flulike symptoms on Jan. 31 and was taken to AMI Valley Medical Center in El Cajon about 9:20 a.m. after suffering a heart attack. She later was transported by helicopter to Children's Hospital, where exploratory bowel surgery was performed.
The surgery revealed a longstanding small bowel obstruction and "not the Crohn's disease for which she had been previously treated," Gage said. He said Heather died Feb. 1 of septic shock which caused cardiac arrest, "all of which was brought about by the underlying congenital stenosis." Gage said the lawsuit doesn't specify the amount of damages being sought. At the time of her death, Heather was a student at Lakeside's Tierra Del Sol Middle School.
"Poltergeist III" is expected to be released this summer.
Edited by Kirsty, 04 September 2009 - 09:23 AM.