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Kaiser Permanente Patient Horror Story

Charla Cooper
San Francisco, CA
HMO misses diagnosis, denies referral, endangering woman's fertility

I originally went to my HMO for what I thought were some fairly routine gynecological tests. Two years later, exhausted from battling them for correct care on any level, I have probably lost my fertility due to the HMO's negligence.

My healthcare problems involve two diagnoses, both of which were totally mistreated by my HMO. I have a pre-cancerous cervical condition called "high grade dysplasia,"which can easily turn into cancer. Fifty percent of high grade dysplasia cases progress to invasive cancer, and I am in a high risk category because of my family history of cancer. Instead of treating this condition proactively, as it should be, my HMO did not return my phone calls, scheduled procedures 3 months after they were needed and returned test results up to two months after the tests were performed.

I still have the pre-cancerous condition since it would require an expert surgeon to operate to avoid damage to my cervix. However despite acknowledging their mistakes, the HMO has steadfastly refused to pay for care from an expert surgeon.

My even more traumatic diagnosis involves "premature ovarian failure," which probably means I will not be able to have my own children. However, the really maddening thing is that the HMO totally missed this diagnosis until it was too late. Had the HMO done the appropriate tests when I first saw them, I would still be able to have children. But the HMO denied the tests, probably for reasons of cost , and now it is probably too late. I understand from other physicians that this particular negligence is costing many women their fertility.

Right now the HMO continues to steadfastly refuse to authorize referral to a specialist who may even now save my chance to become a mother.