Remember the Kaiser Doctor who
Original post made by Kaiser Doc on Aug 11, 2009
Saturday, November 12, 2005 | 1:21 PM
Claims Many Medical Mistakes
By Debora Villalon
Nov. 11 - KGO (KGO) -- A doctor who once worked at Kaiser Permanente in South San Francisco claims preventable medical mistakes happened too often at that hospital. He says cost-cutting moves put patients' lives in danger, and when he tried to warn Kaiser, he was fired.
Dr. Cyrus Safai, former Kaiser doctor: "It was an uphill battle, sometimes a daily battle."
Surgical radiologist Cyrus Safai worked at Kaiser for 13 years, the final years a battle he says as budget cuts made quality care impossible.
Stephen Schear, attorney: "He was just not provided the staffing, the technology or the nurse to be able to the procedures that needed to be done and so the linkage between cost and inadequate care was clear in many of these cases."
Patients whose conditions worsened and patients who died waiting for a procedure.
Dr. Safai's lawsuit against Kaiser claims, case after case, where patients were "denied and delayed care" and suffered "gross misdiagnosis with serious harm."
He complained all the way up to the state medical board, telling them:
Dr. Cyrus Safai, former Kaiser doctor: "There was an unwritten policy of let the patient die but save the budget."
Kaiser is under scrutiny now, after acknowledging four patient deaths due to medical mistakes: overdoses or drug mix-ups, and in one instance, feeding a patient solid food against doctor's orders.
It's estimated as many as 98,000 Americans die from medical errors each year.
Dr. Lonnie Bristow, former president, American Medical Association: "Healthcare has gotten so complex, particularly during the last 30 to 40 years, that it now becomes very error-prone because of the complexity."
But Dr. Safai believes many mistakes come from cost-cutting because staff is over-burdened and under-equipped.
State inspectors found many of the same deficiencies he complained about at his hospital and his colleagues launched a petition drive to get Kaiser to reinstate him.
Instead, Safai says, they ousted him to silence him about mistakes he believes continue to this day.
Dr. Cyrus Safai: "In my experience and incidents I was involved in & many of them were covered-up."
Dr. Safai's case goes to trial in January.
ABC7 contacted Kaiser about his claims and his wrongful termination lawsuit, but the health care giant had no comment.
Kaiser's still trying to formulate a statement about the rash of fatal mistakes in the South Bay other than to say they are taking full responsibility and are taking corrective action.
Take Action Into Your Own Hands
State senator Elaine Alquist says she will propose legislation in January mandating hospitals report serious medical errors within 48 hours and require the state to create a database to make that information public. Tell her what you think by sending her an e-mail through our ABC7 Taking Action page.
on Aug 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm
People are worried that with any Government affiliation with health care, that their private information will be misused.
Kaiser Spraying Patient Data Around Again
Is there anyone who *doesn't* have Kaiser's patient info at this point? This week Kaiser mailed letters to 160,000 patients to let them know a laptop containing their personal data (phone numbers and Kaiser MRN numbers) had been stolen.
Anyone want to compare the number 160,000 to the way I supposedly endangered the public by pointing out a Kaiser web site that had been online for five years that later turned out to contain the MRNs for around 150 people? Where is the DMHC press release and public order intended to turn anyone who dares mention it into a supervillain? Why isn't Scott Budman of NBC 11 busy splicing news clips together to invent a hacker? Any plans to haul the person who tipped off Wired into court yet?
At least the public has been informed about the laptops. There hasn't been a word in the press about the other Kaiser web site that put patient information online.
Update: I'd like to put this article about Kaiser's desperation in context. When I worked for Kaiser, Covansys contractors were earning $150/hr. for twiddling with HTML, attending department meetings, and taking long walks around Lake Merritt in Oakland. I'm sure the contractors who were working with the hot buzzwords, like J2EE, were making a great deal more. These costs have all been passed on to Kaiser members as they have been used as the justification for huge membership rate increases for the last several years. If Kaiser's demand for "immediate price relief" is met, I doubt those savings will translate into a reduction of membership fees.
on Aug 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm
How many people are "happy wiht their current heath care" and how many of these people have had medical problems?
on Aug 11, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Kaiser employee's and Doctors, Don't rock the Boat!
Kaiser Could Lower Death Count by Addressing Retaliation
If Kaiser wants to address their staggering medical error rate, then CEO George Halvorson needs to take strong action to stop the reign of terror against employees who try to bring up problems. Recent cases of retaliation and wrongful termination include Maria Lungu, Dr. Cyrus Safai, Margaret McIlroy, Dr. Thomas Jensen, Stacie Wong, Tim Coe, Stephan Pardi, this anonymous Kaiser pathologist, Robert Baker, and Karen Daily (if anyone has a link with details of the Daily case, please let me know). These are only the high profile cases I could easily find on the Internet. They don't include cases that didn't make the news or cases that were quietly settled. I also found a number of cases the Kaiser lawyers got quashed, such as O'Keefe, Carr, and Villanueva. At the Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing, a caseworker told me that her agency gets a lot of Kaiser retaliation complaints, and DFEH only has the resources to follow up on a fraction of them. Of course, I can personally vouch for Kaiser supporting the use of false documentation while destroying actual evidence to cover up illegal activities.
Kaiser is currently refusing to comment on how many deaths have not yet been reported, maintaining their default attitude that nothing counts unless they get caught. One indicator of the scope for error might be the Kaiser memo that confessed 20,000 employees are injured every year. Perhaps this number would be lower if Kaiser employees hadn't been shown by many precedents that they would be harassed and fired if they rocked the boat.