Kaiser kidney program whistleblower settles retaliation lawsuit

From San Francisco Business Times:

Kaiser whistleblower settles lawsuit over abrupt firing ? Merlin asked Kaiser for $5 million in damages

by Chris Rauber

David Merlin, the former administrative director of Kaiser Permanente?s troubled Northern California kidney transplant unit, has settled his wrongful termination lawsuit against Kaiser following a Dec. 18 arbitration hearing.

Merlin lost his job in February 2006 after eight weeks, following his questioning the safety, management and oversight of the unit by Kaiser and its Permanente Medical Group. The suit, filed in mid-July in San Francisco Superior Court and seeking at least $5 million in damages, said the transplant program ?was so poorly organized and unprofessionally managed that it failed to comply with state and federal requirements and was compromising patient care, leading to unnecessary suffering and possibly deaths.?

Merlin also brought his concerns to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and other regulators, and to the news media, resulting in a
series of huge fines, scathing regulatory reports and media scrutiny of the transplant center?s woes.

Matthew Schiffgens, Kaiser?s spokesman on the transplant issue, confirmed that the Oakland-based health-care giant had settled the case, without providing any further details.

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5 comments to Kaiser kidney program whistleblower settles retaliation lawsuit

  • David Merlin

    I just recently came across this website and would like to clarify, for the record, that I did finalize my wrongful termination lawsuit against Kaiser, the case has been settled, the terms are confidential, and I cannot discuss it further but……there is no gag order involved. I am free to write, speak or testify about all the details of what I saw, heard, read or witnessed during my time inside the Kaiser kidney transplant program. I am currently pursuing numerous avenues that will help achieve full disclosure of the truth (the real story that was overlooked or downplayed by federal, state and San Francisco city officials, physician leaders and public advocacy groups as well as the California and national news media).

    David Merlin

  • Admin

    Thanks for the clarification and good luck with future endeavors. If we can ever assist in any way, please let us know.

  • m.kuwabara

    Is it true that Kaiser is ready to settle its lawsuit in regards to the transplant lawsuit?

  • Admin

    I haven’t heard anything specific about a settlement.

  • Les P.

    My dad is suffering severe pain. Prior to this, Kaiser has removed his kidney. Upon recent discussion with my mom, she said, that his kidney removal was for a reason that was unconclusive. With this talk about illegal organ matters. Could someone removed his kidney, say it was bad to give to another person, I tend to wonder? My dad’s current remaining kidney, has a cist. I tend to wonder if Kaiser even removed the right kidney or just removed a Kidney that didn’t need to be removed.. At the time my dad had his operation with Kaiser when they removed his Kidney, Kaiser did something wrong. My dad was suffering from internal bleeding. He nearly died. Now my dad has to have a filter in his body for blood clot. After the operation my dad’s legs look like when a friend of mine had blood poisoning.
    Back to the pain: My dad went to the DR’s at Kaiser, and was sent home misdiagnosed and put on meds that weren’t correct. Two days later, I took my dad back to Kaiser, they admitted him in the hospital. My dad’s pain was accompanied by headaches and fever. My day stay at Kaiser for 5 days testing, at which point, they said,”we don’t know why he has a fever.” My dad’s white blood cell count is high. Still Kaiser says, “we don’t know why.”. My dad stayed at their hospital for 10 days, and Kaiser released him on this condition, fever, with high white blood cell count.

    My dad returned home, still in pain everyday. Still having fever. Barely can move around, to get up and eat or use the restroom. Kaiser took blood, lots of it, did various scans, and yet they only guess what is happening.

    Still lingering in my head, is my mom telling me that the kidney that Kaiser removed, wasn’t conclusive for cancer.

    By the way, there hospital was noisey, and I witnessed personel banging expensive medical equipment against the walls. When I looked at all their equipment, I couldn’t believe all the scuff marks all over it. I just wonder if there stuff even works correctly?

    They gave my dad vicaden and morphine, which doesnt help his pain that well. Obviously there is something wrong they aren’t telling us. Perhaps they didn’t need to operate on my dad, and thus screwed him up so much so, that now they are masking there mistakes but not telling us anything..
    Tonight, my dad is in great pain, and feels so sick that he needs to go to the hospital again.

    I think I need a lawyer.

    Can somebody help?

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