I know enough to know that there’s more to know. And that it’s not going to be pretty when we know it. People in community and other leadership positions whom Alamedans have trusted for years, or decades, are going to come under scrutiny, our trust in them questioned if not flat out destroyed.
The first hint I had that something was wrong in Munchkin Country: the wizards in charge weren’t making any sense. Like Dorothy discovering the mere mortal bloviating behind the curtain, I was shocked when those in positions of authority, and responsibility, dissembled when answering my straight-forward simple questions that should have had simple straight-forward answers…consistent with medical science (which at these levels of discussion is very very VERY straight-forward!).
Before the elections I asked people about the fact that we have an EMS transport protocol variance for our city (implying this is a problem):
I asked Dr. Deutsch (Alameda Healthcare District [AHD] Board Member); he said emphatically several times, yelling actually at me in public on the steps of Cardinal Point, “You have your facts wrong!” . So I asked him: “How do I get my facts right?” He suggested I write a letter to the County EMS and inquire. (?!) Seems to me, if he’s a doctor and an AHD board member, and he’s implementing a strategic program for the hospital specific to emergency services, that the paramedic protocols that are part and parcel of the entire city emergency system are something he knows. I’m pretty sure he has intimate knowledge of these protocols and that he was dissembling. The hint that this may be true is hidden in a 1983 document within City Manager Gallant’s report on EMS; see the Source page on this blog.
I asked Dominick Weaver (AFD) and gave him a copy of the county protocol for stroke transport; he said he’d find out and get back to me. Regardless of the fact and document in hand, he responded several days later: “For CVA and STEMI, the designated hospitals certified for these are Summit and I believe Alta Bates. That is where the protocol would direct the transport to, however the patient always has the right to request a different hospital.” Some of this is true, some is not. Summit and Eden are certified stroke centers. And in Alameda city, strokes [CVAs] always go Alameda Hospital, and no, we don’t have a choice: if/when we are “unstable” the EMS protocol supercedes any request whatsoever. I don’t know why Dom would pass along inaccurate information; I can only guess that he was trying to get information to me and that he’s not a paramedic and so he’s not totally upt to date; but it is curious that I received misleading information from another leading source in our city.
Then Jordan Battani (AHD Board Director) writes an op-ed in the Alameda Sun. She consistently refers to the Alameda Hospital and not once refers to the AHD Board. Yes, yes, yes, the hospital is above reproach, blah, blah, blah. But why are multitudes of people having really really bad experiences at the hospital, nearly dying, and even one story recently confirms death? And how was this EMS stroke transport variance put into place, when, and why? Why is the board leading the hospital in programs to drive acute cases to the Alameda Hospital ER, programs based in unsound medical science? She doesn’t answer any questions. She provides no facts.
This all started, I believe, in 1983. Drs. Boone, Deutsch, Frith, Glaser, and Schub decided they needed acute cases in order to be happy at Alameda Hospital and that Alameda Hospital’s emergency services were not all that less good than off-island ERs could provide. Maybe true in 1983, I have no idea. But so NOT true in the 2000’s and definitely NOT true in 2010. Back in 2002, with the formation of the healthcare district, the first board members were Boone, Ashcraft, Harper, Tam, and Farrell. And I think—I have indications but no documents yet–that the stroke protocol variance was gotten from (requested?), or given by the county sometime in the mid 2000’s. That places Tam square in the middle of the EMS stroke transport variance for our fair city, places Tam square in the middle of driving revenue for the hospital at the very cost of our health and possibly lives.
Deutsch and Boone (both Tam supporters in the recent election) have been behind the curtain for decades, almost 3 to be exact. Tam has been behind the curtain since 2002.
What I don’t get: CEO Stebbins has a really good reputation in the industry of managing hospitals. How is it that she is going along with shiny new programs that are based quite clearly in unsound medical science??? How is it that she is allowing her hospital to participate in what comprises a long-term travesty upon the Alamedan residents?
Moreover, what I do not get: how on earth did the County EMS (and the county supervisors?) approve this EMS stroke transport variance for the city of Alameda when that variance itself is 100% at odds with state and county stroke protocols?! Who at County EMS and the County Supervisors is behind this curtain?