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Kaiser Permanente Patient Horror Story

William Pratt
Vacaville, CA

Delayed Specialist Visit, Delayed Medications, Unnecessary Pain and Suffering. Patricia Pratt (about her husband, William), Vacaville, California
On January 26, 1995 my husband William Pratt died of cancer. In June of 1993 my husband was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and treated for a year and a half.

In the three week period before his death we experienced things that I did not believe could happen in our country. When he was first told he had cancer he was told by his physician that he had made arrangements for an oncologist to examine him that morning and work out a treatment plan. He waited for 10 agonizing hours for this doctor to show up. Her office kept telling him she would be there, but after she failed to show up his physician released him from the hospital. It turned out to be eight days before they could get him into see a specialist, and we will never know if that delay would have made any difference.

A written prescription was given for medication and no record was ever made in his medical records and refills were authorized on two different occasions. There was a potential medication error while he was in the hospital. There was a failure to provide adequate pain relief during his hospital stay. In fact, the on call physician discontinued pain medication that had been ordered by his primary physician.

Communication problems between the physician and the nurses occurred on a daily basis. There were inadequate staff and poor housekeeping conditions. And there was a failure to provide comfort and compassion to the patient and the patient's family.

Substandard medical care is just as devastating as many major illnesses, and far too costly. The medical profession is supposed to ease pain and suffering, and for a year and a half my husband was in almost constant pain. All of us in his family are still suffering. This is not an isolated incidence; it is happening far too often.