Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the public interest

An unhealthy alliance
about to be exposed

By David Baker
Posted Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012

It was in this month in 2003 that Lisa Zenzen-Baker was found in her bed in Samaritan Hospital unconscious, not breathing and with a blood glucose level recorded in her hospital’s chart as being at 2 milligrams per deciliter – far below the normal minimum of 80 mg/dL.  After three weeks in a coma and on life support she would be dead.  I had no idea then that nine years later I would find myself about to permanently change the public’s perception of not just one but two of the region’s most visible institutions.

Exposed soon will be on one side healthcare providers that are supposed to heal people – while at least, doing them no harm – that have spent a great deal of money over the past decade fighting claims of avoidable deaths and serious injuries; and on the other, Capital Region media organizations whose stated function is the gathering and distribution of information but which have willingly suppressed news of those claims while benefiting from a steady stream of advertising revenue from many of the defendants in those lawsuits.

Changing these perceptions requires no more than making that suppressed information – and the fact that it has been suppressed – readily available. With that news, people whose view of the two entities have been shaped in large part by those endless paid announcements will be able to form their own, perhaps new opinions on Capital Region healthcare and media organizations whose covert alliance has kept the public in the dark while doing nothing to improve the safely of patients.

Both sides have ignored repeated invitations to comment on this situation, perhaps to even start putting people before profit.  Now the managers of one of the medical providers are pursuing a lawsuit against this blog’s sister web page claiming money for alleged damage to their organization’s reputation, an extension of their tactic of aggressively fighting virtually every claim of harm even in cases where they know they are liable.

The impact this disclosure will have on the public at large and, more specifically, on the people employed by the providers, would be hard to overstate.

But ultimately the public will benefit from an enforced transparency and accountability, the unexpected result of that death in Samaritan Hospital in 2003.
Twitter: @answersforlisa