This heartbreaking story arrived in our in box a few days ago. There is only one thing we can think of that is more tragic than a mother having to bury her child, and that is having to live with the knowledge that the death occurred unnecessarily at the hands of the doctors entrusted to save him. Justice rarely prevails in these situations, because the system has long been stacked against patients and in favor of corporate abuse of money and power. We ask our readers to keep Sean Berlin in heart and mind as they witness KP CEO George Halvorson making his rounds, touting Kaiser-style health care “reform” for all… because your child could be next.
By Jack and Donna Berlin
I’m writing to tell the story of our 32 year old son, Sean Berlin, who expired at Kaiser Permanente, Walnut Creek on 2/22/07 needlessly & wrongfully. Throughout his short stay — first at Kaiser Redwood City for sinus abscess surgery, and then a needless transfer to Walnut Creek on a holiday weekend to save money — Kaiser negligently failed to diagnose, treat, care for and manage him in connection with his medical condition. They also failed to recognize & timely treat him; failed to provide appropriate follow up procedures, medicines, testing, and screening; and he was allowed to deteriorate while unchecked & improperly monitored as his condition rapidly declined, resulting in his untimely death. He died from severe sepsis, which is a hospital acquired condition that can be treated if detected early enough and with the proper treatments. At all times, we feel Kaiser neglected to abide by the laws & rules of the proper standards of patient care.
We spoke with numerous attorneys who felt we had a case but were unwilling to take it because of the MICRA law in California limiting judgments. The three attorneys who did agree to take the case had to drop it for being unable to find a medical expert willing to testify in Kaiser’s rigged arbitration system. The last attorney extorted thousands of dollars from us before he forced us to drop the arbitration for the same reason — no medical expert willing to go through Kaiser’s binding arbitration. By this time the one year limit for filing arbitration had passed. We also filed grievances with JCAHO and the State Medical Board of California, and once again we were passed off and given the run around.
Losing a child is the most difficult thing anyone can ever go through. I hope that when people read this story they can make a judgment on whether this is the way they would like their loved one to be treated. I hope not because everyone deserves to be treated with the highest degree of care available. The Kaiser system is negligent in so many ways & needs to be accountable for its negligence.