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Kaiser Permanente Patient Horror Story

Elizabeth Wooldridge
Hercules , CA

Infant Dies After HMO Fails to Approve $50 Test.
( Told by Elizabeth's mother Jamie Wooldridge )
On May 30, 1995, my daughter, Elizabeth, was born weighing 8 pounds. No one could ask for a more beautiful, healthy baby. But, by September 8, she was admitted to a Children's Hospital and diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. By October 8, 1995 she was dead. 

We believe she would be alive today if our HMO had OK'd a simple and inexpensive test when it was requested by her doctor. On August 23, we took her to the doctor for a cough and a slight fever. The doctor thought it could be Cystic Fibrosis, called the HMO and requested a sweat test at the cost of somewhere between $50 to $150. The HMO never called back. 

After several phone calls from our pediatrician, along with calls from his secretary, there was still no approval. All our doctor and his secretary got was the runaround. The doctor would call the HMO. The HMO would tell him he needed to call the medical group. He would call the medical group, they would refer him back to the HMO. This continued for over two weeks. By the time the HMO did give authorization for the test, Elizabeth was already admitted to the Children's Hospital. It was now too late. Elizabeth had two collapsed lungs along with severe pneumonia. This was the beginning of the end for our helpless little daughter. 

The HMO stated to my son-in-law that it would only take 24 hours to get an approval. If the HMO would have just approved the test when requested, Elizabeth would be alive today. While it is a serious chronic disease, Cystic Fibrosis is treatable with early detection and aggressive medical care. Elizabeth never got that chance. 

October 8, 1996 marked one year since her death. We all missed her greatly, especially her 4-year-old sister who also has Cystic Fibrosis (which was diagnosed when Elizabeth was in hospital), and who still suffers from the HMO's slow response to anything. We still have to fight with them just to get her medications.