Governor Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Secretary Kathleen Sebelius(HHS): Stop patient abuse and cover up at LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport
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Louisiana citizens’ tax dollars support LSU Health Sciences Center. They pay its top administrators. Citizens should receive high quality and compassionate care. Too often this is not the case. Our organization, the Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform, has documented numerous cases of patient abuse and medical negligence.
Local media ignores it. LSU covers it up.
Patients and their families are too often treated disrespectfully and with plain meanness. One recent example is a patient who was a victim of a robbery. He was in the ER screaming in pain. Instead of getting medical care, gauze was stuffed in his mouth so no one could hear him. His treatment was delayed and he died. A psychiatric patient tried to hang himself after he suffered cigarette burns that were inflicted by an ER nurse. A 9-year-old girl who had been hit by an 18-wheeler arrived in the ER alive. But the trauma team did not arrive promptly and she died. An ER nurse came to work high. But for some reason the urine drug sample was driven to Arkansas for testing. Strangely, it was not done at the hospital-the practice for everyone else. The employee was also given a ride home. A surgeon was high in the OR while operating on a patient. In the opinion of the nurses who reported him he was too impaired to operate on the patient. We have received another report of recent misbehavior by this surgeon who is also a top administrator. A six-year-old girl bled to death. The surgeon didn't come in to the hospital even after being told of her desperate condition. Her heart stopped three times before the surgeon decided to come in. When the surgeon finally arrived she was still alive but the decision was made to let her die. Two hospital personnel were obtaining illegal drug prescriptions from physicians. This was covered up. A patient died after waiting 15 hours in the ER. Even after paying the federal government a $700,000 dollar fine for fraudulent billing we have received reports of continued fraudulent billing at LSU Health Sciences Center. Unfortunately, there are many more cases and events like these that continue in spite of a new administration in place since mid 2009. The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform has informed the new administration of these events. We have offered our documentation. No interest was shown in finding out more and nothing substantive has been done. The perpetrators of these medical misadventures and in some cases crimes still work at LSU Health Sciences Center and some have been promoted.
Therefore it is no wonder that we still receive complaints from patients and their families. The president and board of LSU did not respond after we informed them of these tragic events and suffering. In a recent survey of satisfaction among patients supported by federal funding LSU Health Sciences Center scored in the 40s while another area hospital scored in the 90s. The response of the current medical center administration has been to launch an expensive publicity campaign in a time of fiscal scarcity with new signs on the building, billboards, radio spots and television documentaries. This is money better spent on patient care. The administration also has sent intimidating notices to employees causing them to fear the loss of their jobs if they speak up.
The new administration at LSU Health Sciences Center does not get it. What it does not understand is that the best publicity is the consistent delivery of high quality medical care with kindness and compassion. It was our hope that the new administration would carry out radical reform. Instead the new administration has made itself comfortable with those who have created and continue to create the problems. A pretty front made of signs and media shows, self-congratulatory ceremonies and celebrations do not substitute for the real achievements of day in and day out competence and caring for patients and their loved ones. What this administration also does not understand is that like the cover up at Penn State, eventually the hidden truth of LSU Health Sciences Center will come to light. The chickens will come home to roost.
We respectfully request that Governor Jindal and HHS Secretary Sebelius intervene immediately.
Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform
PO Box 44276
Shreveport, Louisiana 71134
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