One year ago.

It was one year ago this month that I almost died, languishing in a bed in the Emergency Department at Alameda Hospital from an overdose of an extremely strong narcotic (10x the strength of morphine) prescribed by the ED physician and administered by the nurse.  The nurse who had put me in a dirty room on a dirty bed apparently didn’t monitor my vital signs for hours.  The nurse who came on the next shift was the one who noticed the dangerously low blood pressure… the hospital itself said I should have died; they do not know why I did not.

So yes, it’s personal.

When I see the Alameda Healthcare District Board meetings, when I hear Dr. Deutsch speak nonsensically, when I read old documents showing the discussions and decisions identifying ways to make money by manipulating medical protocols and deviating from medical standards….when I see AHD board decisions based in weak discussions with no substance and even less foundation for strategy decisions, when I read letters from others about horrible experiences at our local hospital—and there are more than you can even imagine—, when I see the bright, new shiny business strategies that make no sense—they don’t fit what our city needs nor will they make enough money to support the hospital—, when I see the continued blinders the majority on the hospital board have when it comes to using our tax dollars in order to reposition the hospital to fit the medical services….I am completely perplexed. 

It’s not like it’s rocket science. How hard could it be to use the $5+M per year to repurpose the hospital resources and provide what we need?  The problem: they’d have to quit competing with Alta Bates and other nearby hospitals (who incidentally call Alameda the Toy Hospital…’nuf said).  And THAT my friends is an ego issue.

Clearly, based upon medical trends, rapid changes in medical technologies, and the federal healthcare program, Alameda Hospital cannot compete with contemporary medical services, or keep up with constant changes, in a region where world class services are practically within spitting distance of our city. They should not be trying.  But what they could do that would be amazing: become a series of urgent care centers. But again, the egos would have to take a hit.  And as we’ve seen, the egos and personal incomes of those in charge have been the primary foci of those leading our hospital.  It’s wrong. Worse, it’s harming people and wasting our tax dollars which could be doing quite a lot of good if spent wisely or even well.

Aren’t you tired of Business As Usual down at Clinton Avenue?  Can’t anyone see a way to a future that better serves the diversity of people—wealthy, poor, renters, homeowners, needy children—in our city?  Those in charge must be able to.  For whatever reason, they won’t.

It’s our hospital. It should serve us and serve us well. Why are all the new strategies focused elsewhere?


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

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