Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dramatic impact

Here, too, change is on the way

By David Baker
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008

It was during this week in 2003 that Lisa Baker was found in her bed in Samaritan Hospital in Troy near death and – according to the hospital’s own records – with a glucose level of just 2 milligrams per deciliter of blood, far below the normal minimum of 70 mg/dL.

By the time nurses noticed what was happening Lisa had received devastating injures to her brain and other organs. Three weeks later she would die, without speaking another word.

Lisa’s collapse happened just a few hours after she had had a smaller drop in blood sugar and nurses had failed to follow the hospital’s printed instructions for treating it, instructions that a doctor had specifically ordered in writing to be used.

With Lisa now in a coma and on life support, the hospital’s management immediately put up its routine stone wall, hiding her records and refusing to talk about what had happened. As a result, five years later the legal battle over the care she received continues.

But now the consequences of this case are going to affect every medical provider in the Capital Region, as the public gets to see just how much the medical community, with the cooperation of a corrupt media, has kept hidden for the past 10 years.

It would be hard to overstate the impact this will have on the staff and management of these medical facilities. Also exposed will be the area’s print media, which will see its credibility shredded.

But the end result should be a change in the way “bad outcomes” are handled. The days of a flat denial by medical providers as a standard response, no matter how obvious the liability, will be over. Finally, and very reluctantly, they will do the right thing.

Lisa was not able to speak after November 11, 2003.

But her voice will now be heard by a great many people, for a very long time.