An active mother of three from Mission Viejo with multiple sclerosis, but who was managing the disease fine, died from COVID-19 because her health care provider denied her a vaccine and then monoclonal antibody treatment when she fell ill, her attorneys said Tuesday.
The attorneys for the family of 45-year-old Nerissa Regnier, who died Dec. 16, are ramping up a wrongful death lawsuit they plan to announce details of at a news conference on Wednesday.
Regnier is survived by her husband, Devin Regnier, and her three children, ages 14, 16 and 29.
“She was a very healthy mother of three managing her MS,” said attorney Annee Della Donna.
In February, Regnier was placed on a new regimen of medication for her MS, which suppressed her immune system, Della Donna said.
When she inquired about getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines she was told she could not have it because it contained a “live virus,” which is false, Della Donna said.
“When you’re immunocompromised you need the COVID-19 vaccine,” Della Donna said.
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 said.
“They keep telling her no, no, no,” Della Donna said.
Regnier finally emailed her neurologist in August asking him about the vaccines and he told her she needed to get inoculated, Della Donna said.
“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,” Della Donna said.
Then she was given antibiotics, another no-no, Della Donna alleged. She was also given steroids, which is also not recommended and can be harmful, Della Donna said.
At some point while at Kaiser’s hospital in Irvine her husband had her discharged 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, attorney Eric Dubin said.
Regnier was stabilized at Hoag and then taken back to Kaiser, where she later died, Della Donna said.
“Twice, this husband relied on Kaiser for medical guidance and twice they failed him,” Dubin said. “It’s a devastating case.”
Regnier, who worked as a realtor, was a “healthy mom,” who was “very active in the community,” Della Donna said. She had her MS under control with two infusions of medicine a year.
Della Donna said the family wants to hold a news conference announcing the lawsuit because, “This is 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.”
Kaiser Permanente issued a statement saying it had not been served with a lawsuit and added, “We are investigating these allegations, but we are not able to comment due to privacy considerations.”