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Bob Johnson's Kaiser and the FOR PROFIT PERMANENTE Story as told by his wife Debora

My husband,  Bob Johnson died on May 29,  2005,  and he was a victim of Kaiser.  Two months before his diagnosis of cancer he was rushed to another hospital complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains. 

They did stand tests for a possible heart attack  which included a chest x-ray.

By the time I got to the hospital about 2 hours later, they had told my husband that he needed a cat scan and would be in the hospital for a few days.  Shortly after I arrived the doc told us that Kaiser wanted him transfered by ambulance to their Vallejo,  CA hospital so it would be
'easier' on us since its close to where we live. 

After assuring us he was stable we agreed.

We followed the ambulance to Kaiser about an hour's drive,  and then I was told to wait so they could look at him. 

TWO hours later they allowed me in.
Before I even got to see my husband they demanded the copay of $100.00. 

After I wrote them a check they let me see him.

He was mad,  tired and hungry.  All they had done was a blood test to check for heart problems.  Right after they let me in they told us he was going to be released because he did not have a ha.  When I asked why did he have chest pain and shortness of breath they said he's probably coming down with a cold--no big deal. 

So we went home. 

For the next two and a half months we went to the doctor at least a dozen times with new
complaints--consipation,  weight loss,  severe pain,  hoarsness,  tenderness
in abdonom,  bad back pain.  Every time we were brushed off--it was nothing
serious--just simple stuff. 

They kept giving him letters for a few days off work,  acting like he was just wanting a few days off!!   

Finally I started screaming at the doc--Bob was our sole source of income (I'm disabled)  and
he couldn't work at all. 

Then we were sent to a doc who first says maybe cancer--he needs to run tests--could be something simple.  Well he never scheduled the tests even though he told us that he would. 

Back to primary care doc,  more screaming and finally the cat scan scheduled 2 1/2 months
later.  So we do that the day after Thanksgiving.  The following Monday I thought he was having a stroke or something and called the ambulance so we are back at Kaiser ER. 

After about 5 hours of nothing they finally tell us he has cancer everywhere no hope for survival.  Should die in a few days, maybe a week or so. 

He was admitted to the hospital and the tests that the other hospital wanted to do are now finally being done.  'Course now he can't eat,  he's in such pain,  can hardly think  and after a week they release him!! 

I object--hes still not eating,  not acting right at all, coughing and spittting up blood and brown stuff. 

Anyway he's home but getting sicker and 2 days later another ambulance ride--only they wouldn't take him to Kaiser he's too unstable.  The local hospital takes care of him for several hours and then releases him.  We are to bring him back to Kaiser
later that day. 

We go back the cancer doc who admitts him and he is in septic shock and is given a less than 10% chance of surviving. 

My 19 year old son and I are asked if we want to leave him in the room to die or take him to
ICU and put him on a machine,  to see if it helps. 

Of course we want the chance!!  Why else would we bring him to that place?

Well,  he did manage to get better then but he died 6 months later. 

There's a lot more to this story--I have the medical records now--Kaiser wouldn't give
them to me for several months.  The other hospital did do a chest xray on him and they did find and obstruction in his lungs that warrented further tests. 

I did see one lawyer and talked to a few others but  they all agreed that Yes Kaiser was wrong but there is nothing I can do because I can't prove that he'd live if they had followed through. 

'Course they didn't give him a chance--his body kept failing after the emergency visit. 

Reading about his cancer symptoms later I found out that a prolem he'd had a full YEAR earlier was an early signal that cancer was starting--they told us it was hammer syndrome.

                                                                     Debora Johnson