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Kaiser Permanente Patient Horror Story
San Luis Obispo, CA
HMO REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE PATIENTS ILLNESS, DISCONTINUES ESSENTIAL TREATMENT.
Up until the summer of 1994 I enjoyed what one doctor called "robust" health. Walking on the beach for 4 or 5 miles was an easy, pleasurable walk for me. I rode my bicycle regularly and enjoyed lap swimming in an outdoor pool.
In July of 1994, I began feeling tired and my body ached. It got worse each day and I developed a rash liked none I'd ever had before. I went to the walk-in clinic at my HMO. After a cursory examination the doctor prescribed Naprosin (an anti - inflammatory drug) and suggested I see my regular doctor. I had to wait three days to see my doctor who never reviewed my chart, did not ask about my rash and never shared the results of a blood test that had been taken at the drop-in clinic. She told me that I was just getting old and should go home and take an aspirin.
I continued to become sicker and sicker. I tried to get an appointment to see a different doctor but the HMO refused. In exasperation I went to see a doctor outside my HMO. This doctor was immediately concerned about my health and was appalled that any doctor would let me be in this state. He did a thorough examination and referred me to a dermatologist. Extensive tests were performed resulting in a diagnosis of hypereosinophilia (a potentially fatal allergic reaction). I was given the appropriate medications including cortisone (a stronger more effective anti inflammatory agent).
I then went back to the HMO and told them of my diagnosis. They final relented and let me see a new doctor. This doctor insisted that I was fabricating my illness and refused to continue cortisone therapy. Within months I was again sick. To this day I remain debilitated, have difficulty walking and suffer pain constantly. The discontinuation of my cortisone has cost me heavily. I am appalled by the lack of access to doctors in HMO's and have found out that the type of care you will receive is anyone's guess. I am an elected official in San Luis Obispo County, but have found it doesn't matter who you are you can still be treated poorly by your HMO