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Battani Dodges the Facts

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express dismay for Jordan Battani’s commentary published last week. I’m a little stunned that Ms. Battani did not apologize to Denise Lai in her commentary, nor take any responsibility for the substandard care at Alameda Hospital that almost cost Denise her life, a life I would personally hate to see come to an early end. As the president of the Alameda HealthCare district, Ms. Battani can be expected to show some concern for the well-being of a patient. Instead, Ms. Battani chose to spout tired bureaucratic platitudes, distort the truth and dodge the facts.

It is a fact that the Alameda County emergency medical transport protocols say that all “urgent, life threatening conditions (Code #) must be taken to the nearest qualified emergency room.” True as far as it goes. Except, Ms Battani fails to mention the next clause in the County transport protocols which are:’ Except in the City of Alameda,Alameda residents are to be taken to Alameda Hospital.” So, Ms. Battani, the point Denise raises about the protocols being manipulated are not “rumors and innuendo,” but fact.

I happen to be looking at the paper trail from 1983 with the decisions about Alameda emergency transport were made. The physicians of Alameda Hospital recommended against adopting the county emergency transport standards on several occasions, claiming that they knew what was best for Alameda. Their further recommendation was to keep Alameda EMTs certified at only a basic level at a time when the County service was being upgraded to Advanced levels of life support. That effectively tied us to Alameda Hospital because our EMTs could not stabilize us in the ambulance as was the case in the rest of Alameda County. We did finally upgrade to the ALS level in Alameda – in 1997, 14 years later, making a trip to Alameda Hospital for common emergencies like heart attack and stroke both unnecessary and dangerous. Why? Because a stop at Alameda Hospital to be stabilized has been unnecessary since 1997 and only delays care at a certified stroke or cardiac center. Alameda Hospital lacks key services for both cardiac care and stroke care, which is why it is not a certified stroke or cardiac center.

So, Ms. Battani, these facts lead a reasonable person to question why our health and safety has been put at risk at the recommendation of the Alameda Hospital physicians for almost 20 years. I say follow the money.

Which brings me to the mention of the awards the hospital has received for their “Get with the Guidelines” program from the American Heart Association. Ms. Battani fails to mentions that this is a prevention program only, and has nothing to do with providing life-saving cardiac services that are superior to what an ALS-certified ambulance can provide en route to a certified cardiac center. This is misleading and nasty.

Ms. Battani also claims to be unable to respond to specific requests for information because of her desire to protect private health information, which I understand. But, Ms. Lai’s near-death experience at Alameda Hospital was related to a drug overdose. So, Ms. Battani, what medication-handling systems do you have in place for narcotics? That’s something that should be public and that violates no one’s privacy. In addition, what is the state of your electronic medical records (EMR)? Current research shows that an EMR cuts down on medication and other medical errors. Certainly with Ms. Battani’s deep concerns for patient safety, she is willing to discuss the state of the art electronic medical record at Alameda Hospital. Or, perhaps she’d care to comment on the state-of-the-art imaging equipment, which I’m sure is digital? These are directly critical to both patient safety and quality of care, yet Ms. Battani remains curiously silent about them. We’re listening, Ms. Battani and so very curious to hear your reply.


— Liz Williams, MA
Healthcare Consultant
Alameda

3 comments to Battani Dodges the Facts

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ActionAlameda, 2012 Mayan Sage. 2012 Mayan Sage said: Battani Dodges the Facts | ACTION ALAMEDA News: So, Ms. Battani, these facts lead a reasonable person to questio… http://bit.ly/aW894b […]

  • Barb

    Thank you Liz, for providing such a detailed factual expose on Alameda Hospital.

    Alamedans were sold a bill of goods by physicians who covered up their own malpractice ($15 million award) to perpetuate their future incomes by creating the Hospital District. They didn’t want to get up at 4:30am in the morning to deliver a baby, let alone leave the island to practice medicine. We were told that if there was an earthquake or similar event cutting off the island from Oakland, Alameda, needed its own hospital. (Apparently no one was aware of helicopters at the time.) The result was the creation of a bureaucracy designed to perpetuate the less than mediocre medical treatment provided by Alameda Hospital at taxpayer expense. Thank goodness more than 1/2 of the insured Alamedans have Kaiser, and the uninsured can go to Highland. We should all wear tags that say “Under no condition is the wearer to be taken to Alameda Hospital! Failure to heed this warning will result in legal action.”

  • Liz

    The level of unchallenged corruption in this city continues to amaze me.

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