Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, November 11, 2005

No apology offered here

Other hospitals may have found that an explanation and an apology is better than a fight when a patient is injured by a doctor or a nurse. But for Northeast Health, being the area’s biggest healthcare provider evidently means never having to say you’re sorry. Or to tell the whole truth.

The day Lisa lapsed into a coma, I asked for an explanation. I was sent to the office of a ‘patient representative,’ who at first seemed very helpful. She said she knew nothing about the case but would make some calls and call me later that day.

She didn’t call that day. Or the next day. On the third day, I finally got her on the phone. She was abrupt to the point of being rude and would tell me nothing. I said I wanted Lisa’s medical records. She said I would have to file a written request, but that unless I had a specific authorization – such as a power of attorney – the hospital would not release them or discuss any aspect of Lisa’s treatment prior to that day.

Later, after Lisa died, I obtained a court order appointing me as the legal representative of her estate. With that – and the help of a lawyer – I finally obtained what was stated by the hospital to be Lisa’s complete chart. However, I later discovered that several highly significant pages relating directly to what happened on the night Lisa was injured were not among the documents provided by the hospital.