Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, November 11, 2005

News story prompts correction

Times Union article mistates basis of claim

Several newspapers have now reported on the lawsuit filed on Lisa Baker’s behalf against Samaritan Hospital, two doctors and a nurse. The most recent one appeared on April 7 in the Times Union.
It follows reports in
The Daily Gazett and The Record and a very brief mention in Metroland Magazine.
The Times Union
story was mainly an abbreviated repeat of a story that appeared in Metroland back in December about the "Sorry Works’ program, in which hospitals have found they can avoid lawsuits by acknowledging mistakes and apologizing for them.

Even before the
story, the program was reported on this page last November.
However, the story in the
Times Union
last week contained one very misleading statement that must in fairness be corrected. On April 12, the following letter was submitted to the paper for publication. The reporter, Matt Pacenza, says the paper will not print it, but said a correction will appear in the paper on April 13.

Here is that letter:

To the Editor:
I have to clarify one statement in a story in the April 7 issue of the Times Union about medical malpractice cases and the death of my wife, Lisa Baker, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy in December 2003.

In this article, reporter Matt Pacenza writes that I want to find out "…why (hospital staff) checked her blood only every four hours before she drifted into unconsciousness and died three weeks later."

In fact, my concern is that in the four hours before Lisa was found near death her blood was checked only once after her glucose level had dipped just below a safe point.

My contention is that had further glucose tests been done and had she been given food – which is basic care for a diabetic who has had a hypoglycemic episode – Lisa’s blood glucose level would not have fallen again, this time to near zero, and therefore she would not have suffered the catastrophic damage to her brain and other organs that caused her untimely death.

Your story incorrectly suggests that I am accusing the staff of the hospital’s intensive care unit of failing to provide proper care for a patient. In fact, testing glucose levels "only every four hours" is normal practice for a person whose blood glucose is stable, and certainly for one who is receiving both nutrition and insulin via an IV as Lisa was in the three weeks prior to her death. It is the care she received on a regular ward prior to arriving in the ICU that is the focus of my lawsuit against Samaritan Hospital and a member of its nursing staff.

David Baker