In her open letter, the Alameda Healthcare District’s board director Jordan Battani calls my recent op-ed rumor and innuendo. She wants facts.
Regarding my personal experience at the hospital this summer:
Fact One: The Alameda ER written report that details the very real physician and nurse failures that nearly killed me…and the doctor’s documentation errors…he listed me as a child brought in by her parent! I assure you, I am not a child!
Fact Two: The Alameda Hospital bill of $10,000+ for the ER visit and for imaging later that same month; all was comped; I did not pay one dime.
Regarding new hospital strategies:
Fact Three: The Alameda Hospital’s CEO Deborah Stebbins’ presentation at City Hall outlining a. the new revenues they are getting from receiving emergency cardiac patients and funneling them over to Alta Bates, and b. the new revenues they intend to get with a new stroke program that will funnel emergency stroke victims to Eden (a trauma center).
Fact Four: Alameda County EMS (emergency medical services) Manual dated March 11, 2010 (bolded font is from the document): “Certified Stroke Centers: The following hospital have been designated as certified stroke centers. Patients should be transported to one of the facilities if possible. Exception: patients in the City of Alameda should be transported to Alameda Hospital”. Every city in Alameda County is compliant with the California State Master Plan for stroke care which “requires identification of eligible stroke patients in the field [paramedics] and preferential transport to stroke centers”… except the City of Alameda.
Fact Five: Delivery into a certified stroke center is to enable accurate diagnosis in the shortest time possible in order to “identify CVA [stroke] patients who may be candidates for thrombolysis and specialized care at a certified stroke center.” Any delay in delivering a stroke patient directly into a certified stroke center increases the probabilities for permanent damage and death.
Fact Six: Even when a stroke victim is delivered directly into a certified stroke center, these highly adept systems achieve their treatment goals less than 50% of the time. Extrapolated Fact #1: stroke victims being routed through Alameda Hospital and over to Eden (not a certified stroke center) stand even less of a chance of getting the right treatment within the critical therapeutic window of time. Extrapolated Fact #2: stroke victims transported directly into Summit’s certified stroke center (3 to 5 miles away) stand the best chance of getting the right treatment on time.
Fact Seven: Time is Brain. Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in California and the #1 cause of serious, long-term adult disability in the United States. Each year, stroke kills more than twice as many American women as breast cancer. Among women over age 45, stroke is more common than heart attack. African-Americans not only have a higher incidence of strokes than Caucasians and Hispanics, but they also suffer more extensive physical impairments that last longer than those of other racial groups in the U.S.
Fact Eight: Every 45 seconds someone in the U.S. will experience a stroke. If you suffer a stroke in the City of Alameda, paramedic must take you to Alameda Hospital. where they do not have the resources (technology, disease expertise) to deliver comprehensive stroke care but can only reroute you to a facility that does.
Fact Nine: The major benefit of administering IV tPA (clotbuster drugs) occurs within 90 minutes of stroke onset. That’s why current medical standards call for field (paramedic) diagnosis and preferential (direct) transport to a certified stroke center so that treatment can begin within 90 minutes. Every second the brain is deprived of oxygen, 32,000 brain cells die.
Certified stroke centers, like the one at Summit, only 3 miles away, can best assess and treat stroke, and meet the 90-minute therapeutic window. Tell me again, why do we get routed through Alameda Hospital for a stroke? Follow the money.
I don’t think sounding the alarm about the hospital’s new strategies, and the corollary board members’ failures to represent our best interests, is out of line, do you?
Again, we need to fix this. And we can start next week on November 2nd: vote Chen and Gorelick onto the hospital board and do not vote Bonta onto city council!
– Denise Lai, Alameda