Remember the Kaiser Doctor who Around Town, posted by Kaiser Doc, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:36 am
Former Kaiser Doctor Talks To ABC7
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.
Posted by Kaiser Doc, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, 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.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, 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.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm
Some of the causes of deaths are from SEIU illegals that work in facilities & home care were raised without plumbing don't grasp the concept of germs. Staph infection deaths are the biggest problem.
Also, the foreign language confusion at all levels, regarding procedures and medications.
AND, a Kaiser doctor friend says he's not allowed to say a word to any staff in Kaiser.....i.e. the gal sitting in his area is one union, nurse another union. etc. Union CONTRACTS are a detriment to
medical treatment & functioning.....like everywhere else... BART, SEIU county workers, fire, teachers, breaking UAW, etc. That's why SEIU's Andy Stern is literally on the inside in the White House...sweet sitting forever IF only SEIU county hospital workers, SEIU in home workers (just exposed for fraud & unlicensed illegals in homes), etc. But once they are protected from the 'inside' like the crooks at ACORN.....tain't nothin' any of us could ever say again...they'd TELL us .
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Aug 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm
Mistakes are made at every level of Kaiser health care. Unfortunately, lives have been lost because of these serious mistakes.
What's it like to feel so helpless, knowing that there is little to nothing that you can do to make a change for the better? As for your Kaiser "doctor friend", you know that very few Kaiser docs will spill the beans on anybody/anything. They work in fear of "The Corporation". They also love their salaries and the generous benefits. Prediction: Your friend will not bite the RAT that feeds him/her! Thus, he will happily ever after as a mouse.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Aug 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm
I strongly recommend that NOBODY help Dave gather information against Kaiser. What is in it for you? NADA! NOTHING!
DFEH (DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT & HOUSING) has a small team to do discovery and all they do is waste your time. Almost all MD's at Kaiser will not speak up to protect their colleagues or patients. They are very highly paid employees and they receive generous benefits. Most if not all Kaiser docs are company boys and girls. If there is a wrongful termination lawsuit being handled by Regional attorneys, they will depose you if you give Dave your name. Their job is to cripple you so that you cannot function. They are very methodical and it's their primary task to make you look like a big mouth liar. Dave's pals have the option of taking their case to the BAR and request that it be placed on the Fast Track. They can settle there and then they can move on with their lives.
Kaiser docs are correct about "Retaliation" but so what? That perfect justice rules the world is merely a philosophical argument. Kaiser or the suing party know that there can never be a winner in a wrongful termination lawsuit. You sign a paper and settle. That's it. If somebody wants to have his/her day in court, go ahead. It's a gamble.
Dave is not a kind person anyway. So, why would anybody want to help him? What has Dave ever done to help you? NADA!!!
Posted by Kaiser Member, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm
Cholo, I disagree.
I believe any not for profit organization, as Kaiser is deemed, should have their policies and procedures transparents so they will be known by the members.
I believe the members have a right to input in repect to the health care they receive and I believe Kaiser Permanente should have a member board at each facility.
I believe if there is an issue with a doctor, all doctors should be honest, upfront and have the courage to stand up and say it the way it is...that's important because they are in a position of trust and being in such, they have a higher responsibility to the health and welfare of their membership than to the Administration of Kaiser.
It is clear the politics are different dependent upon which facility of Kaiser the individual is employed. To have "black and white" standards for all doctors is not good. Fifteen minutes alloted to each patient is inadequate. Some patients need more time, especially those with major health issues, such as cancer, etc. Fifteen minutes is not enough time to document the health issue, to examine the patient, to order the tests and to answer the questions of the patient.
Kaiser has some excellent doctors and Kaiser has some marginal doctors. Kaiser needs to be consistent in ridding their troops of the marginal doctors and maintaining the excellent doctors. They need to focus on the patient, not on the profit.
Everyone should be honest and participate in any investigation and everyone should stand up and offer an honest assessment, opinion or experience in order to come to the truth....not to "help Dave."