Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Sunday, May 29, 2011


With dead and injured
patients, no news is the news

Some might think that the story above about a lawsuit in which a doctor who was alleged to have be impaired by drugs while treating a patient is not news because it was filed several years ago.

But it is significant because, despite the publicity surrounding the arrest of Dr. Darroch Moores in 2001 and his subsequent treatment for an admitted drug addiction, no story about the lawsuit apparently ever appeared in the newspapers.

The likely reason is that by then the area’s newspapers had long stopped printing stories about any lawsuits alleging malpractice against Capital District medical providers, providers who were – and still are – providing those newspapers with a steady stream of advertising revenue. So the lawsuit documents filed on behalf of the estate of Kathleen Baker in 2006 probably weren’t even read. Why bother, when the reporter checking for stories at the county clerk’s office already knew that his or her newspaper wasn’t printing stories about such suits?

Last week, after the discovery of the lawsuit against Moores, an e-mail that very briefly described the allegation against the doctor and his history was sent to two people at the Times Union: Editor Rex Smith and investigative reporter Brendan Lyons. This was before anything about the suit had been posted on this Web site, and that was deliberate; with nothing new on the site there had been no visitors for a couple of days.

But within an hour of those e-mails going out, there was a series of hits on the site. Someone now knew that a significant story was coming and wanted to see if it had been posted on this page.

But they found nothing, which was also deliberate, and prompts visions of either Smith or someone else at the Times Union making urgent calls in an effort to find out how big a story the paper had ignored.

If so, the first such call would probably have been to the newspaper’s partners in secrecy at St. Peter’s Hospital – which had been mentioned in the e-mail. But the hospital would be unlikely to have a copy of the lawsuit, so the next step would be to contact one of the law firms that represents defendants in medical malpractice cases. After all, they also benefit from the fact that information about these lawsuits is kept from the public; If people were able to read about all these cases as they were filed, the hospitals would be much more likely to settle claims where there was obvious liability – meaning far fewer billable hours for the lawyers.

So now, for the first time, the story is available to anyone, without a time-consuming trip to a county clerk’s office. And there are many more to follow.

So far, this page has not been promoted, as lawsuits are gradually added. But by late summer details of most lawsuits filed in Albany and Rensselaer counties will be posted here. At that point, aggressive steps will be taken to make the population of the area aware of this site.

The area’s hospitals have spent a fortune over the past 12 years to keep these stories off the pages of newspapers. They are becoming available now only because Northeast Health refused to admit what its own records show; that in 2003 its negligence caused the death of Lisa Baker.

In 2004 Northeast Health was paid $74,000 for treating Lisa for the horrific injuries it inflicted on her. That was before a change in the law that would have stopped it from getting the money. Now, as a result of Northeast’s negligence, arrogance and greed, it and all the other hospitals in the area are about to have their callous disregard for patient safety exposed for all to see.