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Violetlee RunelsVioletlee Runels - deceased 03/07/05

Please take a moment to read this true story of what happened to my best mother and how this HMO in California placed a death sentence on my mother.   8 different doctors at 3 different facilities saw my mother between 11/8/04 and 12/1/04 and did not inform any of us or my mother of her critical condition.  I have the proof as well as letter of apology from Attorney Mary Parks, esq. at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland CA.  That is not enough!!!  Who made them God?  The people of California beware and any state who has this HMO among them beware.  Get copies of your medical records to make sure you are being informed of your health is true.

My mother in 2002 had an x-ray done and the findings of the x-ray showed the beginnings of interstitial lung disease with reticular densities.  Prior to that she had been complaining of breathing problems and not feeling well since 2002 and the only treatment she would receive would be to go to the lab to check for an infection.  On November 8, 2004 after demanding an x-ray her primary care doctor, at the HMO Riverside Roseville facility in CA, the primary care physician sees there is a problem and sends her on for a CT Scan, he then forwards her on to a pulmonologist and on November the 15th the pulmonologist at the Sacramento Morse Avenue Facility tells her, after reviewing the x-rays, that she has 2 - 3 months to live because she has cancer.  No other proof to make this statement to her and places her on oxygen.

On November 24th 2004 the pulmonologist orders a needle biopsy and the same pulmonary Doctor of this HMO establishment lets my mother leave the hospital knowing she had Extensive Pulmonary Edema, knowing she had an ENLARGED HEART, knowing she was in HEART FAILURE and DID NOT TELL ANY OF US ABOUT HER CONDITION or my mother.

On November 26, I spoke with the director of Pulomongy at the Morse Avenue Sac. CA HMO facility who informed me that my mother looks to have cancer but does not inform me of the findings either of Extensive Pulmonary Edema, enlarged heart and my mother in imminent heart failure from the x-ray taken on 11/24/04 as well as an EKG done on 11/8/04 showing abnormal heart then.  I also spoke later that same day with the pulmonary doctor who is handling my mother's case and he never informed me either except to say he thought she was dying from cancer with 2 - 3 months to live.

The needle biopsy performed on November 24 was inconclusive on finding Cancer and the chest x-rays taken the same day shows massive Pulmonary Edema, enlarged heart and that my mother was in heart failure imminent heart failure.   No treatment was ever given except for oxygen for her shortness of breath.  None of us new how critically ill she was.  None of us knew, my father, my sister, my adult daughter, me or more importantly my mother, None of us.  We knew something was very wrong but did not know what it was except for the possibility of cancer.

My Mom, was supposed to go into surgery on Monday, December 6th, 2004 only after my fighting with the facility to move her up for almost a month and to have her be seen by an oncologist who on November 30, 2004 the Oncologist, at an HMO in Roseville Eureka facility, CA saw on the 2002 x-ray of my mother's saw the beginnings of the interstitial lung disease with reticular densities noted in both lungs and told my mother "that was where it all started" and my Mom cried out "Why didn't someone call and tell me? Why?  (as they live in Redding and come down to the Sacramento facilities of this HMO for quality care). The oncologist then refers her to a Thoracic surgeon who will pull out a node and the outcome most likely is cancer but he can tell us what kind it is.

On 12/1/04 my mother again sees her pulmonary doctor at the Sacramento HMO (at this point she is in a wheelchair; never needed one before in her life) and he still tells her her lungs are clear.  She see another doctor for the surgery to be performed on 12/6/04 at the Roseville HMO on 12/1/04 and he has her take an EKG and the findings from that are abnormal!!!!  So from 11/8/04 my mother's lungs are filling up with gunk (Pulmonary Edema) and her heart is enlarging due to overworking to get air in my mother's lungs because of the Massive amount of Pulmonary Edema that is accumulating and slowly drowning my mother and she is dying, she is in heart failure and still no action is taken.  No one tells my mother; my father; my sister nor my adult daughter.  No one.

My mother was admitted into the ER at Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding CA on December 3, 2004 just two days after leaving her HMO hospital where the Doctors informed her that her lungs were clear and she was admitted for Extensive Pulmonary Edema, Enlarged Heart and in Heart Failure, the Dr. who saved my mother's life immediately started her on diuretics and then on Monday the 6th performed a non invasive procedure to find out if my mother did have cancer and what type and within a half hour we knew that my mother had advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis complicated with the secondary condition of Stage IV Non Small Cell Lung cancer which has rapidly spread through her body and in her bones and if that was not enough they found a brain tumor.

My mother, my best friend has stopped chemo on Monday February 7, 2005 as more tumors have been found on her brain and the chemo she currently was taking failed again and is at home receiving Hospice care.  I spent my last birthday with her on February 10, 2005 she died in the early morning hours of March 7, 2005.

Had this HMO informed my mother back in 2002, my Mom would not be dying today but her doctor never called, so she had no chance, no choice, no advice, no help; not then and not in 2004 between 11/8/04 - 12/1/04 and this HMO signed off on her as if she was a criminal on death row and gave her a death sentence.

It amazes me and disgusts me at the same time knowing that at least 8 different doctors from this HMO saw or conferred with each other about my mother and all of them knew she was in heart failure; all of them knew she had Extensive Pulmonary Edema which was causing the enlarged heart which was causing her heart failure and chose not to tell her or any of us; chose not to treat her; chose not to admit her.  What was my mother's choice?  Where was her chance?  How come she did not get help? This HMO did not care - death sentence given.

This could have been prevented and treatment could have worked and cured my Mom had she been given the chance; the choice back in 2002.  But hey she is 71 at that time...she already had a good life.....HMO sentence - Death to my Mom.

But hey the HMO wants to run us through like cattle and make money, not do their job of preventing and helping and upholding their Hippocratic Oath of taking care of the patient first.  And I am not saying all doctors are like this, as I have a great doctor who is not part of this HMO organization but this HMO seems to be encouraging this type of non-treatment from their doctors. 

MICRA caps are an incentive for these bad HMOs to not be afraid, give the doctor bonuses for achieving low costs and not providing quality care to the seriously ill and who cares about a measly $250,000 when they get billions per year in return?  Who cares....I Do!!

I have all the records and x-rays to prove it and my mother's wishes are that this not happen to another person again.  This HMO is taking money and not treating the seriously ill.  This HMO also had my mother and father's Medicare A & B as well as the payment from my father's county retirement plan.  That is fraud as they are not providing quality care as directed by Medicare nor insuring the rights of every individual to have and receive quality health care in a timely manner as stated on California's Department of Managed Health Care website under Patient's Rights.

It's also criminal to not treat my mother since 2002 and tell her about the lung disease and the doctors aware that my mother was critically ill ignored that fact and that between 11/8/2004 - 12/1/2004 she had extensive pulmonary edema which caused the enlarged heart and they knew she was in heart failure from the edema and chose not to treat her.  My mother was reduced to a wheelchair by that time of 11/24/04 and the Drs. would not treat her or admit her for it even through December 1, 2004.     Can you imagine..8 different Doctors knew!!!!  They too should be held criminally liable.

These bad HMOs are here to collect the money and not to treat the seriously ill.  I have the proof to prove what happened to my mother and an admission from the HMO in writing of an apology to me for missing the 2002 x-ray and not informing my mother of her lung disease and incredible as this all sounds I got the records for my father - he has a heart condition and was never told, he was given the wrong medication and for 20 years this medication causes him to cough and he complained of it all the time....did this HMO do anything or look into why this was happening, NO. 

Coincidence that both my mother and father mistreated and not informed?  I don't think so.  Seniors trust and believe what is told to them by their doctor and very few seniors are assertive in their care and ask questions.  That is what they have been taught by their parents.  Just like we trust our firemen; police and other service personnel.

Laws need to be enacted to protect individuals and health care organizations need to be accountable for the neglect.  Reform needs to happen and I want an investigation into the neglect and mishandling of my mother.  I have Durable Power of Attorney on both of my parents who have authorized me to proceed and tell my mother's story.

Because of them my Mother, my best friend, died and she is only 73 and I promised my mother that it will never happen to another family again, not on my watch.  I'll go before congress, the senate and wherever someone will listen.  This has to stop.  It could happen to you next..or your this has to stop and California needs to repeal the MICRA cap or increase MICRA from the measly $250,000 so HMO rethink and treat the seriously ill and inform them of their illness.

Bush touted the 1975 California law that imposed caps on non-economic damages to an Illinois audience and they should follow California's example??.... Its not something to be proud of...really its not.  Other states be warned and Don't follow California's lead as it will hurt you in the end as I and my family are speaking from first hand experience of what this HMO can do to you and your loved ones and how it affects the whole family.

Just who made this HMO god?  Please get check your records; you have a right to see and obtain copies of your records and do so before it is too late.


Jane Stevens