Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just send cash

Insensitive hospital wants

money, even from the dead

First posted December 24, 2005

By David Baker

Lisa’s untimely death has prompted two separate lawsuits. But that hasn’t stopped Samaritan Hospital from asking her for a contribution to its fund-raising foundation.


At the end of last year - one year to the day after Lisa died - a letter addressed to Lisa was received from the Northeast Health Foundation., It asked for a donation.

On receiving this I sent a letter to its then-chairman, Richard Wallace, pointing out that Lisa had died while in the care of the hospital, and that a lawsuit was imminent. The letter asked Wallace to ensure that no further such communications were sent to Lisa or anyone at her address.

I received no response. Later, a copy of both the foundation’s letter and my reply to it were filed with the court in response to a demand for copies of correspondence.

Despite all that, the request was simply ignored. In mid December 2005, a letter addressed to Lisa from the foundation dated December 5 - the date of her funeral in 2003 - arrived. This letter, signed by current chairman John Scarchilli, also asked for a donation, saying that "... caring for our community is at the heart of everything we do."

This from the same organization that has claimed in legal papers that Lisa alone is to blame for the horrific injuries she received when - according to the hospital's own records - her blood sugar was allowed to drop to almost zero while she was a patient in its care.

And these communications weren't the only ones: In late 2003 Samaritan Hospital sent Lisa a different letter. It was one of those surveys, asking how well she thought she had been cared for while she was a patient.

She didn’t respond. She couldn’t because the letter arrived about a month after she had left Samaritan Hospital - dead.

Follow up: In December 2006 and after a third written request to remove Lisa's name, the foundation sent yet another fund-raising letter to Lisa. It took a strongly worded phone call to the foundation's staff to finally make them stop.