Kaiser Permanente: Hospital of Corruption
by Brittanie Anderson
Kaiser Permanente is one of the few largest integrated hospitals in the United States. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has opened its doors to over sixteen thousands physicians, nurses, doctors, and employees. Furthermore, more than 8.7 million people are health plan members. In addition Kaiser Permanente had launched thirty-five medical centers as well as 431 medical offices in nine states and the District of Columbia. Within the coming years Kaiser Permanente promoted non-profit foundation which is over 1.3 billion of net income that does operate 42.1 billion of revenues.
In the recent years Kaiser Permanente has been respected and rewarded for their accomplishments. Kaiser Permanente established it to be the most influential hospital in the country. For years, Kaiser Permanente has been endangering and injuring their patients by malpractices, patient dumping, and postponing kidney transplant patient’s operations.
Kaiser Permanente’s purpose is to assist patients who are ill and cannot care for their self; instead, Kaiser Permanente has been deceiving their patients with the intention of relieve the patients’ pains. Knowing, Kaiser Permanente had hire doctors and physicians who were rejected or fired from different hospitals for malpractices on their patients. Lately, Kaiser is reported to cause major injuries and neglect their duties of patients’ medicinal health. Months ago there was a case where a thirty year old woman who was identified with spina bifida. How she got the disease is caused by Kaiser Permanente’s group doctors who failed to diagnose the disease in time, which caused the woman to permanently have paraplegia, where she is unable to walk. The lawyers said that “Kaiser Personnel ion Santa Rosa failed to correctly diagnose and treat her problem for over fifteen months.” (Malpractice pg. 2). Kaiser could have treated the woman’s disease, but shirked their responsibilities. Since then Kaiser’s lawyers have acquired a cash and annuity settlement to care for the woman’s health, so she can have the assistance she needs.
In another case, a man who was healthy had died from a sudden injury. The man suffered from a hypoxic brain injury which were the possible symptoms of supraglottitis, an inflammation of the airway. The male patient could have been saved; however, one of Kaiser's Emergency room staff in Vallejo, California misdiagnosed him even though the patient had a high fever and difficulty swallowing. One of Kaiser’s emergency room triage nurses said to the man that his "case was not severe enough for the Emergency Room”(Malpractice). Because the male was not ill enough, they sent him to Urgent Care where he died three days later. The outcome of this case is that the male patient’s family filed a lawsuit in which Kaiser has agreed to a settlement.
But sometimes the patients were not able to receive justice of their loved ones dying because of arbitration clauses. These causes can be hidden within the hospital and may prevent patients seeking justice for the negligent and abusive staff of Kaiser Permanente hospitals. Kaiser Permanente has to deal with malpractice lawsuits because they neglect their duties as doctors and physicians to care for the patients.
However, it could have been worse: Kaiser Permanente could have just cared for the patients then dumped them out of the hospital if they did not have medical insurance. On November 16, 2006, Kaiser Permanente was filed against, charged, and accused by the Los Angeles City attorney for illegally dumping patients on skid row. There was one case involving a sixty-three year old who was a patient from Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower hospital. On one Wednesday morning, there was a videotaping of dumping a female patient on skid row. LA city attorney Rocky Delagdillo stated that she was “left a taxi in gown and socks, and then wandered skid row street” (Dumping). Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower hospital was charged with dependent-care-endangerment. Kaiser’s Bellflower hospital had indeed planned to get rid of the patient because she did not have medical insurance. Kaiser Permanente was also investigated of dumping other patients in Downtown areas which is known for homeless shelters and mission camps.
The city attorney also charged them with a civil lawsuit, stating that Kaiser Permanente had misused a state law to force intercity slumlords to clean their buildings. Delagdillo said, "We believe this is the right action to take and it speaks to this region’s values. We are in the right place at the right time to hold Kaiser accountable” (Delagdillo). The judge had ruled to forbid all Kaiser medical facilities to dump any homeless patients on skid rows or any downtown districts. Due to these incidents, the city leaders tried to stop criminal acts of dumping patients.
Kaiser Permanente may have the elite doctors, physicians, and nurses’ to treat their sick patients. But what if they are the reasons why they are sick? In 2005, news came out that people were dying because their patients were waiting to receive their new kidney transplants. In May 2007, a fifty-nine year old school teacher suddenly died of unknown causes. In January 2006, an autopsy showed that the school teacher was supposed to be given a new kidney from her brother. But one of the Kaiser Permanente hospital’s administrative staffs delayed the operation for another year. In that year Kaiser Permanente was supposed to launch the Kaiser’s Northern California kidney transplant program, so kidney transplant patients could acquire their kidney. Unexpectedly, Kaiser’s program was a rip-off for the reason that Kaiser had forced hundreds of patients to join a new program, but the new program could endanger their health plans. In fact five people who were patients of Kaiser Permanente could not receive their kidney transplant because their HMO mismanaged them in the kidney transplant program. Kaiser had no choice but to pay a settlement of one million dollars to every patient who was affected in the Kaiser Permanente’s program. In addition, Kaiser Permanente had publicly announced that they would close the program. Attorney Lawrence Eisenberg said “the failure of the program resulted in the deaths of some patients who did not timely receive kidney transplants. The health of others was severely jeopardized” (Kidney).
Kaiser Permanente is certainly one of the best integrated hospitals in the United States and has treated their patients with any illness covered in their HMO or other medical insurance. In the recent years, Kaiser Permanente has neglected their duties and the Hippocratic Oath to do whatever it takes to take care of their patients. Kaiser Permanente has been charged with malpractice on their patients, dumping homeless patients on the street, and delaying patients who severely needed their operations. Kaiser Permanente is indeed a corporation who is tied- in with their greed of money has deceiving people for years. Allowing this licentious deed is un-American and as Americans we cannot allow these actions to continue any longer.
November 16, 2006, Richard Winton and Cara Mia DiMassa | Times Staff Writers