[In early September we posted a letter written by Kaiser victim Jupirena Stein, that had been previously mailed to Kaiser CEO George Halvorson. Ms. Stein's health has literally been ruined by a botched surgery at Kaiser, and over a six year period she has collected extensive documentation supporting her claims. Halvorson's response? Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The man's organization has practically ruined this poor woman's life and he couldn't even be bothered to reply. Instead, she had to call him.
Rather than a return call from the man himself, Mr. Halvorson saw fit to have his senior attorney, Mary Parks, call Ms. Stein back, and all Ms. Parks would say in response to Ms. Stein's heartfelt letter was that "Kaiser has no knowledge of any wrongdoing." Of course they don't; they never do. Except in this case it was an even more obvious lie than usual, because Ms. Stein has certainly informed Kaiser, on more than one occasion, of copious amounts of wrongdoing.
Mr. Halvorson has been sending out weekly email updates to all of his employees, and whenever the opportunity presents itself he makes a point of saying something similar to this quote from his 5-year anniversary post: "As an organization of caregivers, we all feel collective pain any time we mis-deliver care." Every chance he gets, he also likes to repeat that he sympathizes with people who have been harmed when a mistake has been made. But actions speak louder than words, and the reality of how Kaiser treats everyone who complains certainly doesn't include the kind of sympathy that involves willingly making restitution to anyone whose life has been destroyed by Kaiser; or even acknowledging any wrongdoing, as Attorney Parks made perfectly clear. We haven't been able to find one single Kaiser member who has been treated like a human being in a dispute with this "sympathetic" organization, and believe me, we have been actively trying.
Below is Ms. Stein's latest write-up, which describes in detail the hell Kaiser put her through while trying to get her issues addressed. If you think it can't happen to you, think again. You also might want to think twice before choosing to renew your Kaiser membership now that open enrollment time is approaching, or risk finding yourself among the future ranks of the harmed and ignored.]
The first year after my surgery
Please Keep in mind that I have all proper documentation to support my words. I believe (my opinion,) that KP’s doctors are treating patients to an extreme level of lacking medical knowledge, with disrespect, intolerance, and indignity.
ABOVE ALL DO NO HARM
For centuries those words from the Hippocratic Oath have guided physicians in the care and treatment of their patients. This Oath became the nucleus of all medical ethics. In its most compelling portions, it emphasizes the profundity of the medical covenant, patient dignity, the confidentiality of the transaction, and the physicians responsibility to guard against abuse or corruption of his knowledge and his/her art.
American Medical Association (AMA) Principal of Medical Ethics — Rule number 1:
A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.
What I am about to write is so absurd it is hard to believe it, but this is all true.
I did not see Dr. Wolgat, Kaiser’s ENT/Professor in charge of my surgery before my surgery — at all. I did not see him during my surgery because I was obviously under general anesthetic. I have no idea if he was there or not. He said he was. He did not come to see me after I woke up, nor for those 2 days that I stayed in the hospital.
The first thing I can remember after I woke up, was that I had the most devastating type of headache one can imagine, and Dr. Timoth Wild asking me to smile. “Smile. Smile. I need you to smile for me.” Later on I came to understand, if I would be able to smile at that point in time, he would know his scalpel did not “hit” my facial nerve. He was certainly worried about it.
My family came to see me and so did Dr. Wild. On the second day before I went home, I saw Dr. Wild for the very last time. I asked him, “My head hurts badly, did everything go ok?”
He answered, “Yes, with the exception that at one point your blood was squirting out of your neck.” I was so impressed with his words, it reminded me of the movie M.A.S.H.
For the next 10 months I was in and out of Kaiser doctor’s office, at my request, being sent from one to another to another doctor. All of them told me that I was OK. That I was perhaps in need of psychiatric help because I could not accept the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer.
All of them lied to me about my injury. They “worked” carefully together, and all of them hid this devastating vascular injury from me and from my family.
NOTE: Ten days after my surgery Kaiser Permanente Pathology, come up with the diagnosis of a rare type of cancer (at that time) named Acinic Cell Carcinoma. It was found in my parotid gland, and involved 1 lymph node. KP cancer diagnosis is our next subject.
These doctors listed bellow interpreted many of my x-rays. Two of them, taken months apart, have the exact same wording. Only the dates had been changed as if there is a format for these things. None of them ever once mentioned in their reports that my sternocleiomastoid muscle was getting atrophied and my shoulder bones had fallen drastically out of place.
Dr. Deborah Anne Kass — License G40970
Dr. Daniel Edward Siedler — LN G49122
Dr. Chi-Wai Gerry Kwok — LN A50513
Dr. Richard Joseph Gabbay — LN G37772
Dr. Larry Edward Yeager — LN C39192
Dr. Jeffrey Javerbaum — LN G33682
ON February 28th, of 2000, he did an EMG (needle electromyography) study on me to properly diagnose and answer my questions about what was happening to my sternocleiomastoid muscle (the big north/south muscle on the neck). Was it getting atrophied? My sister was with me.
His report says, “No atrophy or weakness. Clinically, I suspect that this is quite possibly a brachial neuritis” (BN is a rare syndrome of unknown etiology affecting mainly the lower motor neurons of the brachial plexus and/or individual nerves or nerve branches), and he continues, which is reported post-op (after surgery) in any location. It amazes me how much Kaiser likes to diagnose me with rare cancer and rare nerve condition.
Dr. Javerbaum — in front of me and my sister — tampered with the computer and changed the exam printout. Then he handed me a copy of this EMG results and said, “See? There is nothing wrong with you.” He recommended a shoulder sling, and that I try Tegretol (which is an anticonvulsant often prescribed as a mood stabilizer for those with bipolar disorder).
Dr. Alan David Lash — LN A35820
Dr. Lash injected cortisone into my shoulder. I still don’t know why. I insisted that he would not. At one point he said to me, “How are you ever going to know what is causing your problems? This is a process of elimination.”
When I asked him about the missing muscles on my neck and shoulder, just a few inches away from his eyes, he said to me, “I do not see whatever you see.”
Dr. Sudha Krishnamurth Rao — LN A54908
DR. L.T. Smyth – LN G40382
These 2 idiots diagnosed me with cancer in one lymph node THAT DOES NOT EXIST, causing me to have radiation treatment needlessly.
THE ENTs ( Ear, Nose and Throat doctor):
Dr. Harold William Korol — LN G17963
He was Kaiser Redwood City ENT Chief at that time. One would think that he, better than anyone else, would know what was causing me to getting sicker and sicker after my superficial parotidectomy surgery. I never expected him to lie to me and on top of that be so cruel. I saw him several times. He said I was fine and insisted I should go see a psychiatrist.
Dr. Robert Alexander Wolgat — LN G47484
He is the doctor that told me before my surgery that “Your gland is swollen. This gland duct often gets clogged. It almost never gets better. There is a doctor here that can remove this gland for you.”
Dr. Wolgat was the teaching ENT surgeon for KP Redwood City, California. 17 years of experience, he said. He did not supervise Dr. Wild, and I suspect he was probably not even present during my surgery. After my surgery I saw him several times. Each and every time he lied to me about my injury. He said repeatedly to me, “You will get better, just be patient. You will get better.” Over and over, for about 10 months.
THE SURGEON — he signed my surgery report:
Dr. Timothy Wilfred Wild MD, DDS — LN A61573
Was a resident at KP Redwood City, California, at the time of my surgery. It is beyond me that a dentist/doctor, specializing in ENT at KP can do such a devastating medical error. How could he have mistakenly dissected a major artery?
On his surgical report, Dr. Wild described how he “hit “my carotid artery or possibly my external jugular vein, this way: “…and then, there was a large vein sitting on top of the trunk of the nerve, I dissected it and sutured ligated it.” A large vein? Didn’t he know its name?
Mr. Bailey, my former attorney, missed this important information and ended up claiming a less important NON-EXISTING SEVERING of the spinal accessory nerve.
Today, Dr. Timothy Wilfred Wild is fully employed by KP Vallejo, Northern California, and he is the Chief ENT surgeon. Dr. Wild can be reached at (707) 651-1000 (ask for Head and Neck Department) or at the KP Vacaville Medical Center at (707)453-5000. Please call him and ask for his side to this story.
THE PHYSIATRIST (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems of the musculoskeletal system, except for those physiatrists that work for Kaiser Permanente):
DR. William Lawrence Firch — LN G61851
How should I start talking about this quack? Please remember that by the time I saw Dr. Firch, my sternocleiomastoid muscle was already gone. My shoulder bones had dropped, I was having problems breathing, swallowing and my heartbeat was already out of rhythm. Dr. Firch ignored me. He had in his possession all my x-rays, MRI and CTs that showed all that I have described above.
I wish you could read his report. He says, “…she has had electro diagnostic evaluation through Dr. Javerbaum [the neurologist that did my electromyography and tampered with the computer to change its printout"] which did not demonstrate specific abnormality.”
And he continues, “…this pain she feels is all in her mind.”
He recommended that I take Valium. One would think he would be interested in CCing his report to my neurologist or my orthopedic surgeon right? No. Dr. Firch CC’d his report to my physical therapist and my gynecologist. Amazing!
Last but not least,
THE ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON:
Dr. John Bordy — LN G13812
After reviewing my x-rays he recommended that I see a chiropractor.
By the time I saw Dr. Bordy I was very sick. It became clear to me that something was dead wrong with my health and it was even more clear to me that Kaiser Permanente’s doctors were NOT going to help me with my deteriorating health. I never went back to Kaiser again.
On October 6, 2000, I saw Dr. Michael Cohen, a private neurologist (outside of Kaiser.) That day, Medicare started paying for Kaiser’s mistake and to date still is. I requested, crying and begging him to tell me the truth: “What is happening to my body?” He told me that my sternocleiomastoid muscle had been atrophied to nothing and that he suspected nerve trauma.
I decided to get an attorney’s opinion of this “nerve trauma,” so I called the Blackman Law Group in Burlingame, California, at (650) 692-8124. Unbeknown to me, the corruption and fraud continued.
Mr. Blackman became very concerned that I was publicly involving his law firm’s good name with the word fraud, and in my opinion he was was not able to understand my reasons behind why I never signed Kaiser Permanente’s award check for $75,000.
As per my readings of reliable resources, literally every day thousands of patients throughout our country go under this kind of abuse from Kaiser Permanente. I know many patients personally that have a similar story to tell.
Do you know why KP gets away with this type of professional behavior? Because the DMHC and the California Medical Board allows them the privilege to.
In my opinion, either ALL Kaiser Permanente doctors that I mention here are obscenely incompetent, or they normally, openly and freely use medical corruption working together among themselves, taking their questionable medical behavior to the extreme levels of patient abuse — at all costs, hiding the devastating medical errors of their colleagues.
There are just no two ways about it.