Friday, November 24, 2006
November 18, 2006
Please go to Dying In Haiti for post regarding OSF's International Patient Committee. Maxime, the young man written about earlier, is in their hands.
The reason no Sister or Priest from OSF is on the Committee, is that OSF is the Catholic medical center that "refuses no one" and helps the marginalized and the poor. The Catholic hierarchy want to stay as far away as possible from the decision of the Committee and the written statements of the medical center attorney (which has denied care to Haitian Hearts patients).
November 17, 2006
The forum article in the PJS on November 15 describes Ms. Rodgers frustration with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.
In my opinion, Bishop Jenky has at least 4 strikes. Strike one was his lack of support for the Haitian Hearts program. Bishop Jenky's words are big but his actions are small. He was afraid of the bourgeois in Peoria and now Haitian kids are paying the ultimate price as Peoria's privileged people and Church look the other way.
November 17, 2006:
The Journal Star reported two days ago that the Peoria City Council voted 9-2 to keep Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) as the only provider of ambulance transport in the city of Peoria. AMT has a no compete contract for the next 20 years and, if I understood the article correctly, the policy will ensure that AMT has the exclusive contract for the next 10 years.
Millions of dollars are made each year by AMT. Money is made by transportation of the sick and injured pre hospital patient. If AMT had competition for transport by other private ambulance services or by the Peoria Fire Department (PFD), their revenue would be much less. Retaining their ability to be the only transporting agency in Peoria was very important to AMT and the three Peoria hospitals, which support AMT. The PFD had very little chance to get into the transport business whether they wanted to or not with the political and business climate being as it is in Peoria.
Arguments for AMT being the transport agency include taxes won’t have to be raised and the city budget will be better off because the PFD won’t be in the ambulance business. What is not mentioned is that the three Peoria hospitals paid the 2 million dollar fine to the federal government when AMT was found guilty of Medicare fraud in 2000. Each hospital paid $750,000 dollars to help out. I wonder what that did to hospital medical charges in Peoria. I doubt it lowered the high charges for local people and Caterpillar Inc. for hospital care. And did AMT care much what their fraudulent behavior was doing to the taxpayer when they were excessively billing the government for their services?
But policy is policy and the Peoria City Council believes that this is the way to go for Peoria for the next 20 years. Many other cities in Illinois, including East Peoria, West Peoria, Morton, and Washington, do not think this is the way to go and stress public services to a greater degree. Their ambulance services all function at a higher level than the PFD and all transport their patients.
My hope is that the PFD will be allowed to increase their level of care for Peorians who call 911. They have been rendered totally impotent as a potential transport agency, which is where the money is in this business. However, I hope the PFD will be able to advance from Basic to Intermediate or Advanced Life Support to improve the care of people in medical emergencies.
Now that the PFD is potentially out of the picture for the next generation, the two OSF physicians that have controlled EMS in Peoria for the majority of the last 15 years, Rick Miller and George Hevesy, will hopefully allow the Peoria Fire Department to upgrade their services. (Neither of them is the Project Medical Director now, but they control the decisions of the acting Project Medical Director.) Another improvement would be for Drs. Hevesy and Miller to allow PFD paramedics to use their paramedic skills at the scene to provide advanced life support and not just basic life support as they do now. The doctors don’t need to fear AMT losing business or money with the new Council policy. They both have worked hard for years successfully keeping AMT the only paramedic transport agency in Peoria.
An individual fire department has a certain status with regard to the level of care they give. But with approval by the local doctors in charge and the Illinois Department of Public Health, if a firefighter is present who has greater emergency medical skills, he or she can use them at the scene. Springfield Fire Department works this way. There is no reason that this shouldn’t work in Peoria either. In other words, the PFD firefighter who is also a paramedic should be able to use his/her skills as a paramedic even if the PFD is only designated as Basic. But the direction has to be from the local medical leadership, like Miller and Hevesy. And when they are on the OSF and AMT payroll, their direction can be biased. I wonder if either one of them ever asked the PFD (and thus the taxpayer) for a salary to upgrade the service of the PFD?
The citizenry has been bluffed for many years with terms such as first responder, emergency medical technicians, BLS-D, Intermediate, Advanced, paramedics, etc. Who could possibly figure this out? Who would even want to unless you are in the “business”?
But Peorians shouldn’t be bluffed when Uncle Henry collapses into the turkey at the Thanksgiving meal. They need to start CPR immediately and call 911. They should be aware that the PFD, who usually arrives quicker than AMT, cannot give Uncle Henry Intermediate or Advanced Life Support even though a Peoria fireman may be in their living room with advanced skills. In the Peoria EMS system he is not allowed to use his skills. That is a shame for Uncle Henry and should be quite embarrassing for Peoria.
November 14, 2006:
The Peoria Journal Star had an article yesterday Hospitals Aim to Speed Heart Attack Response.
The article states that hundreds of hospitals around the country are joining a project to attempt to give faster emergency room care to people suffering major heart attacks.
The idea is to keep the “door to balloon” time less than 90 minutes for the patient. This means that the patient suffering a major heart attack should have the blood vessel that is causing the heart attack opened with the cardiologist’s balloon within 90 minutes after the patient presents to the emergency room. The mortality rate for the patient goes up quickly after 90 minutes with a heart that is starving for oxygen.
Many hospitals were questioned and six measures were found to save valuable “door to balloon” time for the patient.
Now imagine Peoria. Forget the “door to balloon” time for a moment. Time could be saved and much more advanced care should be given to Peorians in the pre-hospital setting.
The Peoria Fire Department (PFD) has firefighters that are trained paramedics that cannot use their skills for the patient having a major heart attack long before they reach the door of the emergency room. These firefighter/paramedics cannot perform pre-hospital electrocardiograms. They cannot provide advanced cardiac life support. They cannot transport the patient. They cannot insert a breathing tube for patients unless requested to do so by Advanced Medical Transport. These same firefighter/paramedics couldn’t even give the patient an aspirin until several years ago.
The PFD median response time is several minutes quicker to major medical 911 calls than is Advanced Medical Transport. The PFD responds to thousands of calls annually for chest pain and shortness of breath. Medical studies have shown that Advanced Cardiac Life Support decreases the mortality for these subsets of patients. And the Peoria Fire Department is not allowed to provide this advanced service.
How much time is lost in the pre-hospital setting in Peoria because of our dysfunctional EMS system before the patient reaches the “door” of the emergency room? More importantly, how many patients have been lost because of Peoria’s philosophy regarding emergency care?
November 14, 2006
OSF-SFMC Cost/Charge Ratio and Haitian Hearts
I stumbled onto a website today at www.hospitalvictims.com. This service allows the general public to look at the cost/charge ratio of hospitals around the country. They also break it down and show you the same ratio for ancillary services in the hospitals. They compare the hospital that you search for to Johns Hopkins Medical Center to see how the hospital compares to Johns Hopkins, which is rated the number one hospital in the United States.
So I searched OSF-SFMC in Peoria and found the following statistics from this site:
1. The OSF-SFMC cost/charge ratio is 0.32 compared to Johns Hopkins which is 0.81.
2. At OSF-SFMC there is a 1,273% mark up for Anesthesiology. At Johns Hopkins there is a 107% mark up. (Yes, you read this correctly.)
3. At OSF-SFMC there is an 811% mark up for Laboratory. At Johns Hopkins there is a 126% mark up.
4. At OSF-SFMC there is a 545% mark up for Medical Supplies. At Johns Hopkins there is a 113% mark up.
5. At OSF-SFMC there is a 752% mark up for Electrocardiography (EKG). At Johns Hopkins there is a 100% mark up (which means that Johns Hopkins EKG’s are sold at cost to the patient).
6. At OSF-SFMC there is 381% mark up for Drugs Charged to Patient. At Johns Hopkins there is a 145% mark up.
7. At OSF-SFMC there is a 296% mark up for the Operating Room. At Johns Hopkins there is a 119% mark up.
These numbers are important to Haitian Hearts.
Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children’s Hospital in Peoria, said OSF would write off $250,000 per year in charges for Haitian Hearts with the charges being 55% of total charges. For example if OSF’s total charges for a Haitian child was $100,000, OSF would subtract $45,000 and we would have about $200,000 left. Thus, we could have about four children operated per year. After we surpassed the $250,000 dollars in write offs, Mr. Kramer stated that Haitian Hearts would be responsible for 55% of total charges for additional cases.
Thus, Haitian Hearts, the mom and pop organization from Peoria, would be charged 55% of OSF’s very high charges with OSF’s costs only being 32%. If my math is right, OSF would be making money on Haitian Hearts patients at this point....55%-32%=23% profit Also, OSF gave a 56% discount to people with insurance, so this was better than the “deal” Haitian Hearts was obtaining. Haitian Hearts had no insurance and neither did the Haitian children.
Over the years, Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 million dollars to OSF for approximately 3 million dollars of total charges. Again, if my math is correct, the amount that Haitian Hearts donated is close to 32% which is OSF’s cost for caring for the Haitian children and doing the Mission of the Sisters.
November 12, 2006:
OSF’s 234 million dollar campus expansion in Peoria will include a new independent eight story children’s hospital. This is good for central Illinois children. All children deserve the best medical technology that exists; however, most children in the world come from areas where there is no access to any medical technology.
Unfortunately, OSF has rejected six former Haitian Hearts patients that were operated at OSF. One of these patients died this year and two others are critical now and need surgery very soon. Haitian Hearts was happy to have donated over 1.1 million dollars to OSF-CHOI for the care of Haitian kids, and we have offered OSF tens of thousands of dollars for the follow-up surgery that these patients desperately need.
The Haitian kids and their families that are being neglected by OSF are devastated that they cannot return for the care they need in Peoria. Who would have believed that these children would be denied follow up care from a medical center that says they refuse no one?
Recently the New England Journal of Medicine had two articles on teaching young doctors professionalism. A point emphasized in the Journal is that professionalism needs to occur everywhere in the medical center---even at the administrative level. OSF’s resident physicians and the young medical students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria are witnessing OSF’s administrative and institutional negligence of Haitian children. They are being taught the wrong lesson.
Peoria will have incredible medical buildings with robotic surgery performed inside but can still lack professionalism. Until this problem is solved, medical students, resident physicians, and most importantly, Haitian children will suffer the consequences.
November 10, 2006: See this mornings Peoria Journal Star article describing how SNAP was finally able to deliver a letter to Bishop Jenky.
In April, 2002, I attempted to make an appointment to speak with Bishop Jenky. His secretary, Fr. Jason Gray, took my call and told me that he would let me know only if I received the appointment to speak with Bishop Jenky. He stated that he would not let me know if I was denied the appointment. I told Fr. Gray that I did not think this plan was reasonable but he assured me that is how it would be.
I did not receive an appointment to speak with Bishop Jenky until February, 2003 when I went to the Chancery and told Fr. Gray that I had just been threatened by Monsignor Rohlfs and Patricia Gibson if I petitioned for a Catholic Tribunal Court against OSF-SFMC. I was given an appointment for the next day to meet with Bishop Jenky that is described in this web log.
My brother has written five excellent, well-researched letters to Bishop Jenky over the last several years. None of his letters have been answered. My brother has written the pastors of the Catholic churches throughout the entire Catholic Diocese. He has sent hundreds of letters receiving two responses. Did the Catholic Diocese of Peoria ask the pastors not to respond to my brother's letters similar to the SNAP situation?
The Catholic hierarchy does not like to be questioned by the laity. Just think how silly the hierarchy would be without the laity?
November 6, 2006: Go to Dying in Haiti to see the medical problems in Haiti. As usual, poverty and social injustice are the real culprits destroying the lives of millions of Haitians.
October 26, 2006
I believe that Keith Steffen, CEO at OSF-SFMC in Peoria, and George Hevesy, MD, Director of the Emergency Department at OSF-SFMC in Peoria, should be terminated from their positions at OSF for reasons documented in this web log.
In this weeks (October 26, 2006) New England Journal of Medicine, there was an article-“The Developing Physician—Becoming a Professional”. The authors, Stern and Papadakis, focus on developing professionalism in the young medical student and physician.
“Students need to see that professionalism is articulated throughout the system in which they work and learn. In our academic medical center, this means providing an environment that is consistently and clearly professional not only in medical school but throughout the entire system of care….
Some of the most powerful and important interventions can be made at the administrative level: remaining barriers to compassionate care, ensuring access to care, designing efficient health care delivery systems, and acknowledging teamwork as a fundamental principle of health care. Improving the health care system will go a long way toward promoting the professionalism of students and trainees”.
Keith Steffen is not providing compassionate care to Haitian kids that are dying and need further treatment at OSF. He and Dr. Hevesy are not ensuring access to state of the art prehospital care in the Peoria area. These points are not lost on medical students at University of Illinois and resident physicians in Peoria. These are not models to be followed to develop professionalism.
An editorial in the same Journal, written by Frederic, continues—“There is as meaningful (and measurable difference) between being a professional and acting professionally….Medicine is a moral community, the practice of medicine a moral understanding, and professionalism a moral commitment.”
The medical community can build incredible physical complexes in Peoria, but until its leaders act professionally, patients, medical students, and physicians will all suffer the consequences.
October 22, 2006
I read an article in the September issue of Emergency Medicine News which reported that FEWER paramedics save more lives when patients are having heart attacks. This seems counter-intuitive. One of the points was that paramedics targeted to this population had special expertise and had more opportunities to use their skills (such as airway intubation). The authors think that too many paramedics dilute the skills of “targeted paramedics”. Thus fewer paramedics improved the outcome of the patients.
I spoke to the physician director of EMS in Houston. I told him about Peoria’s unfortunate situation. Emergency Medicine News stated that he did a study three years ago in connection with Baylor College of Medicine and several other institutions. They looked at cardiac arrest survival as a function of ambulance deployment and strategy. This study showed that cardiac arrest patients’ outcomes improve when they are cared for by paramedics than by basic EMTs.
It seems to me, that the Peoria Fire Department (PFD) paramedics should not have to be asked by Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) to use their paramedic skills at the scene of a cardiac arrest. Firefighter paramedic skills need to be kept sharp. The Peoria Fire Department arrives at the scene quicker than AMT the majority of the time and if one believes the conclusions of the studies reported above, the cardiac arrest victim needs the paramedic skills to increase his/her chance at survival. Why should the Peoria firefighter who is a paramedic have to wait for AMT to arrive, and then wait until AMT asks the Peoria firefighter paramedic for help? It can hurt the patient’s outcome and, at the same time, decrease the skills of the paramedic Peoria firefighter.
The Project Medical Director in Peoria needs to change the philosophy in Peoria but has too many obstacles to overcome. Ask Dr. Jim Hubler how things went for him when he was Project Medical Director and became too friendly with the Peoria Fire Department. Prominent businesses, the Peoria Journal Star, and Peoria’s hospitals support AMT and their monopoly over paramedic and transportation of Peoria’s prehospital patient.
October 21, 2006: I found this article from the National Catholic Reporter which was written 12 years ago. The Catholic Diocese of Peoria and OSF show you their right hand, but we cannot see what their left hand is doing. So many Catholics have been misled by our leaders in the last few decades in the United States. Please read the NCR article and my comments that follow. A definite pattern of behavior has occurred in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for many years.
Bishop rules out post-rape pills in Peoria: fear of abortion cited. (Peoria, Illinois Bishop John Myers)
From: National Catholic Reporter Date: March 11, 1994 Author: Edwards, Robin T.
Fear of abortion cited, while its critics claim rule punishes victims
A Catholic hospital in Illinois is currently revising its protocol for treating rape victims, following a directive from Peoria Bishop John Myers banning the use of "morning after" pills.
Myers told the eight Catholic hospitals in his diocese that the two drugs, Estinyl and Ovral, could no longer be used because, he said, they have potential abortifacient capabilities. St. Francis Medical Center, the second-largest medical facility in the state, is the only Catholic hospital in Peoria that uses the drugs.
The fear is that the rape victim may have already been impregnated and that the drugs would not act as contraceptives but would terminate the life of a developing embryo.
"Our issue is with certain kinds of hormonal treatments which prevent ... the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall," Myers said. "We believe profoundly that any medical procedure (which leads to abortion) is incorrect." St. Francis will continue to use these drugs until it can develop a new procedure, which is expected in the next couple of weeks, said Chris Lofgren, the hospital spokesman. As the only Level I trauma center in the area, St. Francis treats a majority of the rape victims locally.
The hospitals were informed of the bishop's directive last November. St. Francis was given until last month to adopt a new policy - a deadline the hospital did not meet.
Lofgren said St. Francis is faced with the complex task of "trying to balance" what's in the best interests of patient care with what's being mandated by the bishop.
The bishop of each diocese has the final authority to set such policies, Lofgren said, adding that St. Francis hospital supports the Myers decision. "We don't apologize for being Catholic," he said.
Meanwhile, Myers' directive has prompted many adverse letters to the editor in the local daily newspaper. Many complain that the new policy is "victimizing the victim," who, they say, should have every option available. "It's a horrendous decision," Joyce Harant, executive director of Planned Parenthood in Peoria, told NCR. "I think the state of Illinois should consider whether an emergency room can do this."
Linda Woods, director of InnerStrength, Peoria's Center for Prevention of Abuse sexual-assault department, said that a majority of the rape victims in the past have opted to take advantage of these drugs. "We are now exploring other ways the medication can be made available to them," she noted.
Last year, the hospital, which serves a 17-county area, treated 58 rape victims.
The ovulation factor
Determining whether a rape victim is ovulating or not seems a key factor in the ongoing discussions. "It is now just guesstimate," said Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, a moral theologian who spearheaded the diocese's two-year study examining the use of these two drugs. He said St. Francis is trying to develop a procedure to determine more precisely whether a woman is in the preovulatory stage.
The customary practice of asking the victim about her menstrual history is scientifically inappropriate and completely unreliable, according to Dr. Eugene Diamond, clinical professor of pediatrics at Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago. As part of the two-year study, Diamond prepared a questionnaire asking medical experts nationwide to give their opinion on how Estinyl and Ovral work. He said 19 out of 20 experts concurred that these drugs - given to rape victims in the standard two doses - do not suppress ovulation.
The new Peoria policy is not unique among Catholic hospitals in the United States, Diamond said. "It's the only one that makes any sense," he said, adding, however, that this is the only such policy he is aware of being implemented on a diocesan-wide level.
By law, all hospitals in Illinois must inform patients about the availability of those types of drugs.
The risk factor
"This is much ado about a statistically minuscule risk," Rohlfs said, adding that the circumstances when rape results in an abortion are rare.
Diamond cited several studies conducted in the past 50 years in which several states reported no pregnancies resulting from a single incident of rape. The reasons he cited: A combination of "psychological factors" and a very high incidence of ejaculatory dysfunction among rapists.
In the rare instances when a pregnancy results, most women, it seems, tend to carry their pregnancies to term, purports Julie Makimaa, director of Fortress International, a nonprofit support organization for women who have been raped, as well as children born as a result of rape. Since she founded Fortress in 1989, 500 women and children have sought support from the Indiana-based organization. Almost half are women who carry their children to term, she said. The other half is made up of children and women who chose to have an abortion.
Makimaa was conceived through rape. Her mother gave her up for adoption, but they eventually reunited. "It would be pretty hard for me to advocate abortion in case of rape or incest," Makimaa said. "I would be eliminating my own life. Everyone is pro-life when they are talking about their own life."
The church does not oppose treatments that prevent conception as a result of rape, Myers said. His directive falls in line, Peoria church leaders say, with the U.S. Catholic Conference's "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities," issued in 1971.
The guidelines state: "It is to be noted that the curettage of the endometrium after rape to prevent the implantation of a possible embryo is morally equivalent to abortion."
Rohlfs took issue with complaints that Myers' directive is the church's way of imposing its moral tenets on others. "The same religious convictions that drive us to do this also drive us to provide free clinics for the poor, and never turn people away from hospitals," he said. "They need to understand that while we don't force them to adhere, they can't expect us to cooperate in something we are convinced is wrong."
Meanwhile, at the center of this controversy lies the ethical question of fairness.
Helen Alvare, who heads the U.S. Bishops' Office of Pro-Life Activities, said in the eyes of the church the Peoria directive is fair. "It depends on if you think taking a life of a baby is fair. Some think it is," she said. "But we cannot agree it's okay to do harm or evil in order to seek another good."
Woods said, however, by not giving women the option the directive, in effect, will be putting an added burden on the women. "We respect the Catholic church's viewpoint," she said. "But from the victim's perspective, our feeling is that this woman has been a victim of a crime ... and to have the worry of an unplanned pregnancy only adds to the post-rape trauma."
My comments regarding NCR article:
In the article above, Bishop Myers told OSF in Peoria that Estinyl and Ovral could no longer be used for rape victims in the OSF Emergency Room. He feared that these “morning after pills” could be abortifacient. His fear was that these drugs would stop the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall and thus cause an abortion. The Catholic faith believes that human life begins with conception. Bishop Myers’ scientific logic was correct and his request to OSF was appropriate.
However, in 1994, OSF missed the deadline and did not adhere to Bishop Myers directive. Even with this very serious issue it appeared that OSF had more power than did Bishop Myers and the medical center did what they wanted.
Chris Lofgren, OSF hospital spokesman, was at his all time best as he tried to explain OSF’s regarding treatment of rape victims in the ER. He even said that Bishop Myers had the final authority to “set such policies and that OSF supports Bishop Myers decision”. The only problem with what Lofgren said was that OSF was not abiding by Bishop Myers directive.
During the past 12 years, the leaders of the US Catholic Church have been exposed by the secular media as culprits in the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked our Church. If I would have read the above NCR article 12 years ago, I would not have questioned Bishop Myers or Monsignor Steven Rohlfs motives regarding oral contraceptives. But I do now.
If one looks at the conduct of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and OSF, a not-so-subtle pattern appears that is both startling and alarming. I think many people that suffered abuse at the hands of priests would agree with these “patterns of behavior” by the Church.
Looking back 12 years ago, Bishop Myers directives and new rape protocol that was being developed by Dr. Jerry McShane and Monsignor Rohlfs, looked very good to very conservative Catholics. The Peoria Protocol, as it became known, was important for all 60 patients each year that were raped and evaluated in the OSF-ER in Peoria. However, the conservative Catholics were not aware of what else was occurring in the Diocese at the same time. I think the Diocese was tricking us with OSF pushing the process.
While the media attention was on the directives of conservative Bishop Myers that would affect 60 unfortunate rape victims each year at OSF, OSF hired Joe Piccione, an attorney from the Washington D.C. area to become Corporate Ethicist at OSF. His job and decisions would affect thousands of women in the Midwest. It would also keep OSF making large sums of money, so they could begin the 234 million dollar campus expansions, including a new eight story children's hospital, in 2006.
What was one of Mr. Piccione’s first assignments at OSF? It was to figure out ethical loopholes which would allow OSF physicians in OSF owned practices to write for oral contraceptives in OSF offices. He was successful and accomplished this with the Sisters looking the other way and with the blessing of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Mr. Piccione also helped with OSF HealthPlans and their formulary of oral contraceptives. (Many physicians think that oral contraceptives have abortifacient properties.) Oral contraceptives are the antithesis of the Church's teaching on respect for life for a number of reasons.
I believe this is all scandalous and thus is leading people to do the improper thing. Scandal, in the eyes of the Church, is a big no-no and overrides the ethical loopholes that Mr. Piccione cleverly fashioned. Interestingly, OSF does not offer their HealthPlans insurance that covers oral contraceptives to their 5,000 employees in Peoria. It would raise too many eyebrows.
So while the Peoria community and nation were watching the rape protocol, OSF was allowing thousands of women to avail themselves of oral contraceptives in the huge OSF system throughout the Midwest. We were tricked. (In reality, most Catholics could care less about oral contraceptives as long as they can use them, and if a lady gets raped, most Catholics think she should be offered medication. But that is not the point. Official Church teaching and adherence to the teaching is the point.)
So please flash ahead to 2003. By January of 2003, Keith ("Haitian kids make me want to puke...") Steffen and OSF had pulled all funding for Haitian Hearts, and Paul Kramer, Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois, had called the American Consulate in Haiti and advised them not to issue any more visas for Haitian children in the Haitian Hearts program to travel to OSF for heart surgery. I picketed OSF in January, 2003, when I heard of Mr. Kramer’s actions which flew directly in the face of Catholic social teachings and the mission philosophy of the sisters at OSF. (Sister Judith Ann, President of OSF, had assured me that OSF would never turn away a child.) I knew Haitian kids were going to die.
Enter Bishop Daniel Jenky in early 2003 who said he would take control of Haitian Hearts after Haitian Hearts was placed on suspension by OSF due to my picketing the hospital. A new committee was set up by Vicar General Monsignor Rohlfs and Dr. McShane, Joe Piccione, and several OSF sisters. Rohlfs, McShane, and Piccione were ready for action again.
Bishop Jenky met with us for a total of 45 minutes in 6 months and told my brother in February, 2003 that I could not return to Haiti to bring back 4 or 5 kids that desperately needed surgery. In late February, 2003, Bishop Jenky told me in the Chancery that OSF is a “1.6 billion dollar industry” and that “this is not going to work”. He meant that Haitian Hearts is not going to survive even with his “leadership”. True to form, and after the Diocese threatened me, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria dropped affiliation with Haitian Hearts in July, 2003.
I believe that OSF was and is just too intimidating for Bishop Jenky (as they were for Bishop Myers). We could have worked with other hospitals around the country with Bishop Jenky leading the way. There are over 150 children’s hospitals in the US (many who have accepted Haitian Hearts children after Bishop Jenky abandoned the program). Bishop Jenky did his best not to embarrass the sisters that really have little say how OSF works. And Haitian kids are dying. Even Monsignor Rohlfs, who referred to one of my Haitian kid's picture as “advertisement”, said in the NCR article 12 years ago that Catholic religious convictions “never (allow) us to turn people away from hospitals”. Monsignor Rohlfs, Bishop Jenky, Mr. Piccione, and OSF’s Director of Ethics Dr. McShane, played the biggest role in stopping the Haitian Hearts program affiliation with the Diocese. Aside from Bishop Jenky, these were the same players that were fooling us with the oral contraceptive protocol and rape protocol 12 years earlier.
Thus, it seems like the Catholic Diocese of Peoria raises their right hand to get our attention, and deviously uses their left hand under the table to strike deals not consistent with central teachings of the Catholic faith. To neglect Haiti’s children that need heart surgery, and to provide ways to disrespect life to avoid conception, or even worse to destroy the conceptus, seems evil. With what has come out in the past six years regarding the sexual abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church, the lack of care for Haitian kids and the disrespect for life at its beginning is unfortunately the accepted “Peoria Protocol” at present.
October 20, 2006: The September, 2006 Emergency Medicine News published a letter ("Paying the Price for Speaking Up") that I wrote regarding the consequences that occurred after I wrote a letter to Keith Steffen and George Hevesy regarding emergency department overcrowding at OSF.
October 17, 2006
Illinois Woman's ER Wait Death Ruled Homicide
Long ER Waits Plague Nation's Hospitals
Beatrice Vance, 49, died in the emergency room of the Vista Medical Center Emergency Room while awaiting treatment for symptoms of a heart attack. (ABCNEWS.com)
Sept. 17, 2006 — In July, forty-nine-year old Beatrice Vance arrived in the Vista Medical Center Emergency Room in Lake County, Ill., complaining of nausea, shortness of breath and chest pains.
A nurse saw her briefly and told her to wait. But two hours later, when her name was finally called, the staff found Vance slumped in a chair, already dead.
"Ms. Vance had the classic symptoms of a heart attack," said Dr. Richard Keller, coroner of Lake County, Ill. "She should have been in the emergency department much quicker and received the care that we have in modern medicine."
In a startling decision, a coroner's jury investigating the case ruled that her death was a homicide, which opens the door for criminal prosecution.
"The definition of homicide that I give to the jury is either a willful and wanton act or recklessness on the part of someone, whether that's by their actions or by their inactions," Keller said. "Certainly, by that definition, this is a homicide."
The hospital is not commenting on the ruling.
But nationwide, long waits at the emergency room have become commonplace. The average wait is now nearly four hours.
"The number of uninsured are rising in this country, and ERs are closing everywhere," Dr. Leigh Vinocur of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "So more people are coming to the ER and using services. … It's just a big domino effect."
But the wait isn't the same for everyone. Emergency room staff members are trained to give immediate care to those who need it.
"When they go to an emergency room, it isn't a first come, first serve basis," Vinocur said. "It really is taking care of the most ill people first, and if you think you haven't been triaged correctly, tell them you want to be reassessed."
The American Heart Association recommends that patients suffering from an apparent heart attack be put on cardiac monitoring immediately and that they have an electrocardiogram done within 10 minutes of their arrival.
October 17, 2006
Please go to post regarding another patient refused care at OSF.
October 12, 2006: See Journal Star Forum article below:
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Is St. Francis participating in uncompetitive practices?
I find it a disservice to the community that OSF Healthcare System and Peoria Day Surgery Center are involved in a lawsuit (Sept. 14, "Day Surgery Center sues OSF Healthcare - Lawsuit claims OSF conducted unfair business practice").
The surgery center is an excellent facility. The environment is bright, warm and cheerful. The surgeons are highly skilled and caring. They take time to speak with patients. The anesthesiologists do likewise. The nurses are compassionate and competent. Patients feel like humans whose needs are being met, not like laboratory specimens to be examined. The center is accessible.
So why is it losing patients? Could it be competition? Why should St. Francis resort to anti-competitive practices when it has billions of dollars in reserve? If St. Francis doesn't have enough beds, then Peoria Day Surgery Center should be given the overflow. Competition is part of our capitalistic system: May the best, most cost-effective service win.
Unfortunately, St. Francis does not recognize this principle. Could there be an unholy alliance between Caterpillar, United Health Care and other insurance agencies? Could this alliance be involved in forcing Peoria Day Surgery Center out of business? Could the elements of greed and power over the medical community be the driving forces behind St. Francis' actions?
The OSF mission statement is to "serve persons with the greatest of care," not people insured by special entities who must go to St. Francis and use St. Francis-approved doctors. Hopefully, a belief in medical ethics and patient choice will prevail.
Charlotte R. Gettman
My comment: If Peorians really understood the unholy Emergency Medical Services alliance they would even be more upset.
Also, below is another Journal Star forum article that appeared the same day:
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Build Faith, Not Buildings
If readers go to the Web site of the Peoria Catholic Diocese, they can read about all of the projects that Bishop Jenky is preparing to expend millions of dollars to build. Jenky has millions and millions of dollars to erect elaborate buildings, yet he can't lift a finger to help the alleged victims of sexual abuse in the Peoria Diocese.
Jenky says he wants to unify and enlighten? Try helping these people who have lost their faith and their dignity. It's a travesty when a bishop cares more about money and real estate than he cares about victims of sexual abuse.
My comments: In addition to Ms.Crocker's statements, Bishop Jenky ignored the Haitian children that needed heart surgery so as not to anger OSF. As stated above, millions of dollars are going for "elaborate buildings" and not for children's hearts or victims of abuse.
The Catholic Diocese of Peoria and OSF have both ignored important teachings central to the faith.
October 14, 2006: In 2002, Haitian Hearts brought Maxime to Peoria for heart surgery. He was 17 years old. After surgery at OSF, we took him back to Haiti.
Below is an e-mail I sent today (10/14/2006) hoping that OSF will remove their ban on Haitians that have been OSF patients in the past and will die without heart surgery now.
Dear Sister Judith Ann, Keith, Paul, Joe, Gerry, and Doug Marshall,
Sister, I hope you receive this e-mail, but you may not. It appears that Dr. McShane, Chairman of the Ethics Committee at OSF, may have participated in blocking e-mails I have sent to you in the past.
Maxime is a 21-year-old young man that was operated at OSF-SFMC in 2002. He had a diseased mitral valve and it was repaired. He has done very well in Haiti, playing soccer and going to school until recently.
Unfortunately, he needs to return to OSF-SFMC for more cardiac surgery. He lives about 5 hours outside of Port-au-Prince and his brother came here (PAP) yesterday to tell me about Maxime’s condition. Maxime could not make the trip due to his physical problems.
Please stop the OSF-SFMC ban on Haitians that were OSF’s patients in the Haitian Hearts program. As you know a number of former patients have suffered and died and more OSF-SFMC Haitian Hearts patients need to return to Peoria or they will die too.
I am sure that the doctors and nurses that cared for Maxime would be happy to do so again. They would have been happy to take care of Jackson Jean-Baptiste if he would have survived.
I will need to renew his passport in PAP if you agree on his return. Please let me know as soon as possible if you will accept Maxime so we can begin this paperwork and Haitian Hearts will fly him back to Peoria.
October 10, 2006: Please log on to http://dyinginhaiti.blogspot.com/2006/10/haitian-fathers.html to see a diary of the last year in Haiti. Yesterday, I examined a two-year-old little girl that needs heart surgery. She is just another Haitian Hearts patient that OSF-SFMC in Peoria will not accept.
October 10, 2006:
A very interesting comment came from "Eight Story Problem" yesterday. Here it is:
WOW what a set of "impressive" financial "satistics" 616 patient rooms 33 million dollar parking deck??? All this? and permanent jobs of up to 1000 as well as 850 construction jobs? what would you have say ... if you added another 50 rooms in say... another five six or maybe seven years. I think you know his "name" just look up the "number"
My answer to this comment:
Dear Eight Story Problem,
I understand exactly what you are saying here. You have to be an “insider” to come up with something so insightful. I know what you mean and so do others. You put in everything except the “make and model”. Also, I warned Sister Judith Ann that she may not be happy with what was on the license plate of another “hero” at OSF. This was much more blatant, but still kind of tricky unless you get out your Hungarian alternative dictionary. I never received an answer from Sister, but maybe the e-mail was blocked to her by the Director of the Ethics Committee at OSF? There is only so much you want the Sisters to know...
October 3, 2006
The comments sent to Peoria’s Medical Mafia have been numerous. I have published some of them at the end of the posts where the comments occurred. However, there have been a number of comments that have attacked Keith Steffen in ways that I did not think I should post. I may have agreed with the majority of what the readers wrote, but because of a sentence or two that was especially aggressive towards Mr. Steffen, I thought it was best to delete the entire comment. Vitriolic comments against Chris Lofgren went into the same deleted file. Go to Conversations With Chris to see what made readers so angry with Mr. Lofgren.Go to Conversations in Church to see interesting followup regarding Peoria Day Surgery Center and Keith Steffen's involvement. How could the nurse not know who Mr. Steffen was when he threatened to "bury" them? And how could Sister Judith Ann, President of OSF, refuse to investigate the deadly rumors I spoke to her about in her office? I thought then and think now that people were lying and a big coverup was occurring. My family and I were devastated that Sister Judith Ann was washing her hands of the issue when she told me that even if Mr. Steffen was responsible for the rumors, we all just needed to "reconcile".
September 30, 2006: Go to Synopsis of Emergency Medical Services to see Dr. Arthur Kellermann's analysis of the precarious condition of Emergency Departments in the United States. It seems that the Institute of Medicine and Dr. Kellermann describe Peoria's condition very well.
September 22, 2006:
Dear Sister Judith Ann, Bishop Jenky, Doug Marshall, Keith Steffen, Paul Kramer, Joe Piccione, Gerry McShane, and Jim Moore, We are in Haiti and Willie’s Haitian mom came by this morning. We had no idea she was making the trip, but that is how things frequently work in Haiti. She had not talked to Willie in the States since May and wanted to know how he is doing. I told her that Willie had been hospitalized for the last three months, had heart surgery, and is now in kidney failure. I told her how the kidneys worked as filters for the blood to remove poisons created in the body. She seemed to understand quite well. More importantly, Willie’s Haitian mom seemed to know something was wrong with him at the very beginning of our conversation. I could sense his mother’s intuition about the trouble Willie is having. Incredibly, this morning in Peoria, there was a meeting between Willie’s adoptive family and the doctors involved in Willie’s care discussing further dialysis options for him. I showed her pictures I had taken of Willie with his family in the United States. He was smiling with his adoptive parents and another picture showed him playing with their dog. I showed Willie’s mom pictures of the three-story house where he lives. What could she be thinking when mentally comparing Willie’s house in the States to her cinderblock shack here in Port-au-Prince that doesn’t even have an address? These pictures were taken last year. She looked at them briefly and cried. When I asked her if she had questions for me, she said, “Is Willie going to live?” I told her I did not know. I asked her if she would like to talk to him via the computer. She replied that she would. We hooked up the computer and called OSF-SFMC ICU in Peoria and Willie was able to speak with his Haitian mom for the first time since May. She told him that she cannot do anything for him now and it is in God’s hands. She stated, “God begins things and He ends things”. Willie could hear her well and she could hear Willie well. I think their conversation will prove to be very important.
September 25, 2006:On September 20, 2006, I sent the following e-mail to Sister Judith Ann, Bishop Jenky, Douglass Marshall, Keith Steffen, Paul Kramer, Joe Piccione, Gerry McShane, and James Moore--
Please go to www.peoriasmedicalmafia.com to "Preintroduction". Willie's Haitian mom stopped by today and I gave her an update regarding Willie. Another good link on this site is "Willie's Pacemaker" to provide some history. This is all such a sad commentary on OSF and the Catholic health care industry. I hope that other Catholic medical centers in the U.S., as well as OSF in Peoria, can learn something from Willie's saga so other patients living on society's edge are not marginalized. Please pray for Willie, his mom, and adoptive family.
Today, September 25, 2006, I received this reply from Gerry McShane:
"will ask Mr. Nauman to block this e-mail"
Dr. McShane sent this statement to all of the people above I had sent the e-mail to regarding Willie Fortune. Did he mean to e-mail me also to discourage me or was this an error? Does this mean he is asking Mr. Nauman (at OSF Corporate) to block any further e-mails from me? Sounds like it to me. Interestingly, shortly after Willie was admitted to OSF in June, 2006, I called Dr. McShane and told him I was submitting a formal complaint regarding Willie's care at OSF and requested an ethics consult by the Ethics Committee at OSF. (Willie was denied care at OSF in 2004 with full charges being offered for his care. Keith Steffen, CEO at OSF, appeared to be laughing out the administrative window at OSF as Willie and I picketed OSF from the sidewalk outside of administration.)
Dr. McShane is Director of the Ethics Committee. I have requested Ethics Committee consults in the past 5 years (via e mail and personally) and never heard back from them. Dr. McShane told me that he did not know if my e-mails were getting through to the people at OSF. Now I see why.
Dr. McShane is paid half a million dollars a year at OSF-Corporate. He really needs to take complaints such as these very seriously that regard institutional neglect of patients. Dr. McShane should not block e-mails. The good Sisters need to hear ethical complaints of all types no matter how painful they are. Willie is not a case that OSF is proud of, but silence and obstructing communication is not the answer.
Dr. McShane knows better.
September 21, 2006: The article in the Peoria Journal Star today by John Sharp entitled “Good State of Health” got my attention. Sharp interviewed the Director of IDPH, Dr. Eric Whitaker. Several years ago I wrote Dr. Whitaker about my concerns regarding EMS in Peoria. Dr. Whitaker replied that I should notify the department of IDPH that is in charge of EMS. This was run by Leslie Stein-Spencer at the time. The only problem with Dr. Whitaker’s advice is that Dr. George Hevesy, Director of the ED at OSF and previous Project Medical Director, and Stein-Spencer were acquaintances, and Dr. Hevesy was also working with or for IDPH for Region 2 in the state of Illinois. And I believe Dr. Rick Miller, the previous director of the ED at OSF and former Project Medical Director at OSF, when Dr. Jim Hubler resigned as Project Medical Director, is involved with Region 2 for the State of Illinois as well. With these arrangements I did not see how IDPH could look at my concerns with an objective eye. In 2002, I spoke with a fire chief of a major metropolitan area in Illinois who spoke of OSF-SFMC in Peoria and their relationship with IDPH. He said it is “unfortunate” (the relationship). I don’t believe the relationship is a well-kept secret. And I recently spoke with another person in Illinois who has extensive knowledge regarding IDPH and EMS. He told me that IDPH has no idea what they are doing with EMS, and when a Dr. Hevesy tells them something, they go with it. He also told me that Dr. Hevesy is just doing what OSF-SFMC wants him to do regarding controlling EMS in Region 2. His control would include the city of Peoria as well. In today’s article, referenced above, Sharp asked Dr. Whitaker if there were any concerns about the hospitals in Peoria spending millions of dollars (actually, one-half billion dollars) in hospital expansions. Dr. Whitaker responded that he had not heard of any concerns. The two hospitals are located a block apart and are going to spend over one half billion dollars, and Dr. Whitaker had not heard of any concerns?
September 21, 2006: Willie Fortune was admitted to OSF three months ago today. He is on his adoptive family’s insurance and was admitted directly to ICU. Willie had heart surgery on July 28. He is now in kidney failure and has been dialyzed for many weeks now. His stay at OSF has been very long and he has endured much suffering. What can OSF learn from Willie? Do they want to learn anything from his case? He was denied care at OSF in 2004. (Willie's Pacemaker). His stay at OSF has been very expensive. Has OSF learned any economic, moral, or ethical lessons? Probably not. I doubt they will ever say they treated Willie with negligence and abandoned him when he needed them. I doubt they will ever apologize to Willie or his family. Big organizations that are out of control are not really into saying “We are sorry”. I spoke with a well known international human rights activist here in Haiti recently about OSF and their mistreatment of Haitian Hearts children. He referred to it as “criminal”. The host families in central Illinois that took care of these children would probably agree with this assessment. Where is the Catholic Bishop of Peoria? He is hiding. It must be a tough job to preach justice for the poor at Mass, but side with the big money in Peoria. OSF has Bishop Jenky in a tough spot, but he should not have allowed this to happen in the first place. In the meantime, OSF continues their 234 million dollar expansion including an eight story children’s hospital. If Willie looks out his ICU window, he can see the construction...
September 14, 2006: Go to Elaine Hopkins article in the Journal Star today. Looks like someone else thinks OSF has been creating a monopoly in Peoria. Much of this web log (Peoria's Medical Mafia) documents my concerns regarding the OSF-AMT monopoly of paramedic care in the city of Peoria. Mr. Steffen probably should not use words like "bury". Doesn't sound professional. Would OSF intimidate and pressure doctors in Peoria? See article below.
Day Surgery Center sues OSF Healthcare Lawsuit claims OSF conducted unfair business practices
Thursday, September 14, 2006 By ELAINE HOPKINS of the Journal Star
PEORIA - A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Peoria Day Surgery Center in U.S. District Court opens a window into alleged monopoly practices by medical providers in the Peoria area. The complaint, against OSF Healthcare System, the not-for-profit that operates OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, contends that Saint Francis is trying to drive the surgery center out of business so it can raise prices. St. Francis's chief executive officer Keith Steffen threatened to "bury" the center, and he has interfered with its relationship with Caterpillar, Inc., the largest payer of health insurance claims in the Peoria area, the lawsuit states. Jim Farrell corporate director for marketing and communications for OSF Healthcare System, said Wednesday, "We haven't seen the lawsuit yet so we have no comment.” The center seeks to stop OSF Healthcare System and Saint Francis from entering into agreements with Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Illinois and United Health Care for the hospital to be their exclusive provider of ambulatory surgical services in the area. If only one of these insurers enters into an exclusive contract, the surgery center will be forced out of business due to lack of volume, it states. Peoria Day, 7309 N. Knoxville, opened in 1990. Since then, "St. Francis has sought to marginalize or eliminate Peoria Day as a competitor in ambulatory surgery," the lawsuit states. The surgery center had a contract to treat the health plan beneficiaries of Caterpillar. St. Francis "forced Caterpillar to modify" its contracts with Peoria Day, to reduce the numbers of its beneficiaries treated there, it states. Since April 1, Caterpillar has refused to pay for any services at Peoria Day, it states, causing its profit to fall by 50 percent. In addition, it states, "St. Francis intimidated and pressured doctors who had pledged to use the center's recovery center to withdraw their commitment and support.""St. Francis has resorted to these anti-competitive tactics" because Peoria Day has lowered prices for ambulatory services, it states. Citing interlocking relationships in the medical community, it names Caterpillar executives serving on boards at St. Francis, and states United Health Care is a third party administrator for Caterpillar health benefits everywhere except in the Peoria area. Peoria Day asks the court to stop St. Francis from entering into the exclusive agreements, and it also seeks damages, though no amount is stated. Elaine Hopkins can be reached at 686-3247 or email@example.com.
September 12, 2006Please go to Keith's Letter and see letter I wrote to Keith Steffen on September 27, 2001. I was placed on probation the next day. The following article appeared in the Journal Star this morning.
State approves Saint Francis expansion plans---
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 By DAYNA R. BROWN of the Journal Star
SPRINGFIELD - OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria received approval today to begin the largest private building project in the city's history. The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board approved plans for a $234 million expansion to the hospital's Downtown campus. Construction will begin next spring on an eight-story, 440,000-square-foot building that will include a new Children's Hospital of Illinois. OSF officials said the expansion was needed because it was out of space, often having to divert patients to other facilities because no beds were available. The new building will be north of the hospital's main facility on the site of Medi-Park 1, which will be torn down when a $33 million parking deck is completed this year.
September 4, 2006:
Go to Patricia Gibson and Monsignor Rohlfs. Someone sent me an interesting article that was published a couple of years ago. It is an AP article that I don't believe made the news in Peoria. It explains a lot of the turmoil existing in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and helps explain Gibson's, Rohlf's, and Bishop Jenky's lack of response to the needs of Haitian kids with heart problems. The Diocese was (and probably still is) having serious problems of their own.
September 3, 2006:When I think of what has happened in the last five years, I realize what a remarkable learning experience this has been. The learning curve has been very steep. I would not trade this experience for anything. I am in Haiti now and 28 Haitian children and young adults, all Haitian Hearts patients, need to come to the United States for heart surgery. OSF-SFMC has refused to accept any patients from this list, even patients that were operated at OSF in the past. They have even refused full charges for care. Not long before I was fired from OSF, Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois (CHOI), told me in his office that Haitian Hearts was becoming “too competitive for CHOI”. We were in the midst of raising 1.1 million dollars that we donated to CHOI for the care of Haitian Hearts patients. We were not becoming too competitive in my opinion. But Mr. Kramer seemed quite concerned that we were. Keith Steffen, OSF-SFMC, was saying behind the scenes that all funding for Haitian children was going to be cut. Interestingly, the Caterpillar Foundation was donating the same amount of money to Haitian Hearts, which went directly to CHOI, as the Foundation was donating to OSF. According to the Caterpillar Foundation secretary, who I spoke to on the phone, Caterpillar donated $30,000 to OSF on April 15, 2001. The OSF Foundation computer sheet showed that Caterpillar Foundation donated a mere $500 dollars to Haitian Hearts on May 1, 2001, even though the secretary said that Caterpillar made only one donation on April 15, 2001. Caterpillar Foundation had been donating $10,000 dollars per year to Haitian Hearts in previous years, which went directly to CHOI. According to the Caterpillar Foundation secretary, Caterpillar only made one donation to OSF in 2001, and that was on April 15, 2001. So where did Haitian Hearts remaining $9,500 from Caterpillar Foundation go? Did Caterpillar Foundation actually donate MORE than $10,000 to Haitian Hearts in 2001? Did CHOI divert any Caterpillar money dedicated to Haitian Hearts, so in 2006 OSF could begin with their 234 million dollar campus expansion? If OSF diverted Caterpillar’s generous donation away from Haitian Hearts to their CHOI fund, that would be bad news. It would be really bad news if you are a Haitian child that is dying from heart disease in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in a hot and filthy dirty hovel. It would be bad news if you are any of the 28 kids waiting as mentioned above. Even after I was fired, Henry Holling, Director of the Caterpillar Foundation, called me and said that Caterpillar still wanted to donate to Haitian Hearts. I have known Mr. Holling since I was a little kid in West Peoria. I knew his grandparents and grew up on the corner of Heading Avenue and Holling Drive. Do you really think that Mr. Holling, representing a multibillion dollar corporation, and one of the most powerful corporations on the face of the earth, was going to offer Haitian Hearts $500 dollars for the year, after Caterpillar had been donating $10,000 each year for Haitian Hearts, that all went to CHOI in Peoria? After I picketed OSF in January 2003, OSF had poor Dr. Rick Pearl announce to the press that Haitian Hearts did not owe OSF any money for Haitian Hearts patients. Do you think this was done out of the goodness of OSF’s heart? Were they following their mission statements? Or do you think they did not want anyone going through their books regarding the above? Do you think that OSF WANTED the public to know that we had donated at least 1.1 million dollars to OSF-CHOI? Do you think OSF wanted you to know that OSF had cut away ALL funding of Haitian Hearts in the middle of 2002 like Mr. Steffen was predicting months before. Do you think that OSF wanted anyone to see the itemized bills on kids from Haiti that may have a financial mistake or two? Do you think that OSF wanted the public to see what they charge for heart surgery and what Caterpillar has to pay and what the government and other third party payers are asked to pay? They did not want any of us to know these inside details. As I have said before, it does not appear that the Haitian kids broke the hospital as OSF starts the biggest expansion project in Peoria’s history. What I have learned also, is the impotence of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis and the Catholic Bishop of Peoria. They have watched all of this happen and looked the other way. A lot of people advised me that they (the Sisters and the Diocese) would not help. My family and I refused to believe this. We believe them now…all part of the learning curve.
September 3, 2006: Go to Peoria's Greed to see comment at end. Not surprising at all.
August 31, 2006: Go to dyinginhaiti.blogspot.com. We have twenty-eight Haitian patients that need heart surgery.
August 22, 2006: There is an interesting forum at forums.firehouse.com. If you go to this site and search for "Peoria's Medical Mafia", you will be one of over 1,700 visits to this forum that discusses EMS in Peoria. Many people involved in EMS in Illinois already know how this "plays in Peoria", but more information and comments from a variety of people never hurts. In Peoria, there is really only one voice dictating how EMS will work. The people in charge in Peoria want to stay in charge of this lucrative business and don't want it publicized. The majority of the general public has no idea how EMS is supposed to work. The Journal Star is quiet and knows a lot that they won't allow their investigative reporters to print.
August 19, 2006: Go to Fear at OSF for Catholic Hospitals and Unions.
August 13, 2006
Dear Sister Judith Ann, Bishop Jenky, Keith Steffen, and Paul Kramer,
Willie Fortune remains in Peds ICU at OSF. He has had numerous problems since his heart surgery several weeks ago. I am sure he is receiving good medical care from the nurses and doctors in ICU at Children’s Hospital of Illinois (CHOI).
Doesn’t it seem incredible that Willie had to wait two and one half years to be evaluated by CHOI after his pacemaker needed to be replaced and he was rejected by OSF with full payment offered for his pacemaker in 2004? (A pacemaker was placed emergently in another medical center, which saved his life.) Quite possibly if he had not been abandoned by OSF, his condition would not have been so critical when he was admitted several months ago to OSF. And possibly his postoperative course would not be near as difficult as it is now.
Keith and Paul, what do you think? Sister, when you became an OSF sister and President of OSF, you probably had no idea that you would be leading a medical center that would be negligent with former patients. Rejecting former Haitian patients seems impossible, doesn't it? Disqualifying Jackson Jean-Baptiste (now deceased) and Willie from care when they really needed it seems to contradict OSF’s mission statements and the U.S. Bishops Ethical and Religious Directives regarding Catholic health care.
Sister, you told me multiple times that OSF would never turn away a child. Sister, I have two more Haitian Hearts patients and former OSF patients that need to return to OSF for surgery.
The first patient is Jenny Guillaume. Jenny is 28 years old now and was operated in 1999. When I was talking with Paul Kramer prior to Jenny’s surgery, he told me I needed to come up with $23,000 for her surgery. Haitian Hearts did not have the money at that time, so I wrote CHOI a personal check and I paid $23,000 for her surgery. Jenny has done pretty well, but now needs her mitral valve replaced (like Jackson Jean-Baptiste did).
The second patient is Katina Antoine who is 10 years old and needs her mitral valve operated as well. She was operated at OSF in 1999 also. She lived with my brother and his family and they will host her again. St. Thomas School has paid for her education in Haiti for quite a few years. Haitian Hearts brings her medication from Peoria and performs echocardiograms as necessary in Haiti. Haitian Hearts will offer OSF-CHOI $10,000 per case if you request money for these Haitian patients.
On one of the OSF-CHOI websites, the Milestone project is described. The 440,000 square foot addition is portrayed with its projected 234 million dollar cost. The site also states, “In the Spirit of Christ and the example of Francis of Assisi, the mission of OSF Healthcare is to serve people with the greatest care and love in a community that celebrates the gift of life.” Please do what the mission statement says. Please give these two girls a chance.
I am in Haiti now and can bring them to Peoria when you let me know.
Jenny is pictured below.
August 8, 2006: Haiti lost another baby this week--a 10 month old named Ferna. She had a small hole between the lower chambers of her heart that could have easily been repaired in Peoria at OSF-SFMC. Remember that OSF is doing the 234 million dollar expansion and building the new independent children's hospital. But they had no room for Ferna. Pictured above are Ferna and her mother Yanick. Pictured below is Yanick after hearing of Ferna's death. Please visit www.dyinginhaiti.blogspot.com to read more about Ferna.
July 21, 2006: Go to Keith's Letter. The comments at the end of this post seem to have been written from someone inside OSF and published anonymously for good reason. Mr. Steffen told me that fear is a good thing in the work place and that if OSF nurses wanted to leave for Methodist Medical Center, that was their choice, and it was OK with him. The comments sum up very nicely what I have been attempting to document on this web site: OSF needs new leadership.
July 21,2006: After talking to Dr. McShane on the phone on July 13, I e mailed Joe Piccione, OSF Corporate Ethicist, about my concerns for Willie and my request for an ethics consult. Neither Dr. McShane nor Mr. Piccione has responded regarding the ethics consult described above. Willie remains in ICU at OSF.
July 13, 2006: Willie Fortune was readmitted to Intensive Care yesterday at OSF. Willie has been in the hospital for over three weeks now. He is critical and the doctors and nurses at OSF are doing all they can to make him comfortable. I called OSF's attorney, Doug Marshall, and let him know that Willie was not doing well. I asked Mr. Marshall if he would visit Willie and his mother and explain his e mails two years ago stating that Haitian Hearts patients would not be accepted at OSF. Willie's pacemaker needed to be replaced at that time and I had offered OSF full charges for this to be done at OSF. They refused to replace his dying pacemaker...fortunately Willie received a new pacemaker by Vanderbilt Children's on an emergent basis. Mr. Marshall stated that what he e-mailed me regarding Willie was "OSF's position" and that he is just "the attorney working for his client". (He also stated that "Willie is getting care now at OSF". What Mr. Marshall did not say was that Willie is on his adoptive families medical insurance and is no longer a Haitian Hearts patient.) Mr. Marshall also told me that he would not be visiting Willie and his mother in ICU.I followed this call with a telephone conversation with Dr. Gerald McShane, Director of the Ethics Committee at OSF. I told Dr. McShane that I would like an ethics consult regarding OSF's lack of care for Willie two years ago. I will let you know the results of the ethics committee. (In the past 5 years I have asked for several ethics consults and have never received an answer, so I doubt I will have much to report this time.)How can OSF explain the abandonment of a child who was dying of a pacemaker that needed to be replaced with full charges offered for that care? (The pacemaker had been placed in Willie at OSF in 2000.) How will OSF explain their administrator Keith Steffen laughing out his window as Willie stood on the sidewalk outside OSF's administrative offices begging for care in 2004?
June 28, 2006: Comments regarding "St. Francis Holds Hearing on Expansion":1. OSF-SFMC is beginning a 234 million dollar 444,000 square foot expansion--the largest private construction project in Peoria's history. Yet, OSF has rejected numerous former Haitian children even with Haitian Hearts offering full or partial charges for their care. At least one Haitian has died and many are suffering needlessly.2. Paul Kramer, Director of Children's Hospital of Illinois, states the hospital needs to expand because it is out of space. St. Francis apparently diverted 80 adult patients and 60 pediatric patients in 2004-2005. When I wrote OSF Administrator Keith Steffen a letter in 2001 regarding my concerns regarding emergency room dysfunction, overcrowding, and patient diversion to other facilities, I was placed on probation the next day, referred to as a "cancer" in the emergency room by Mr. Steffen, and fired by Mr. Steffen several months later.3. "Technology is good. There is just not enough to go around." (Paul Farmer, MD)
June 27, 2006: Go to Journal Star Forum article. If I were OSF or PAEMSS, I wouldn't respond in the paper. It just brings undo attention to the paramedic monopoly in Peoria, which they largely control. Silence is golden.
June 26, 2006: Last year, when I spoke at a Citizens Forum of the Peoria City Council, I related the story of the gentleman who collapsed at a Peoria restaurant. The Peoria Fire Department was not able to give advanced life support and the man died. A year has passed, and the PFD still stays mired at Basic-D level with only basic medications to provide Peoria's public. The following entry is from a local web log and was written last year after this unfortunate event happened and was exposed. I am in agreement with the writer that the problem is not with the medics on the street. It goes much higher. (When I spoke to the FBI in Peoria in 2001 about their successful prosecution of AMT for Medicare fraud, they advised me that the "problem goes all the way to OSF's Board of Directors".)Terry Carter Says: July 15, 2005Just an update, Dr. Miller, the medical director for the Peoria Area EMS system has now approved for Paramedics, employed by the Peoria Fire Dept. and licensed within the Peoria system, to have the power to perform ALS (Advanced Life Support) interventions while operating with the PFD. This went into affect yesterday 7/14, I believe. It’s a step in the right direction, BUT…here’s another hitch. PFD is still only licensed as a Emergency Medical Technician – BASIC service. This means they cannot carry meds, IV’s, breathing tubes, etc. on their apparatus. So, Dr. Miller’s new rule is kinda like telling a furniture builder they can build furniture, but not provide them any tools. Get it?? Not for profit…don’t make me chuckle. AMT’s administration has salaries and bonuses that reflect their ability to have the corporation bring in $$$, just like any other company. The more stuff the fire department does, that AMT can’t charge for, is money out of those peoples’ pockets…kinda makes ya go hmmm…dunnit?? AMT just purchased seguays...you know…those fantastic new devices that take the place of WALKING?? (don’t get me started on out of shape Americans). Why did they buy them? They really serve no great purpose in emergency medicine, can’t haul equipment on them, can’t transport patients on them. Gee…maybe it was a way to spend extra money in order to NOT SHOW A PROFIT? It’s just a guess…Finally…yes, PFD has medics that have been medics for years. They have a lot of experience vs. newer medics that work for AMT. But, AMT is the only show in town for new medics so they can’t be blasted for their turnover rate. AMT is where most Peoria medics get time under their belts. PFD only has to cover the city proper and are strategically placed. AMT covers most of Peoria County, and a lot of Tazewell, along with transports to other hospitals, etc. So yes, they are spread thin and can’t respond as quickly as the PFD. The medics of AMT are not to blame for this AT ALL. Most of them have a wonderful working relationship with the fire professionals of the Peoria Fire Dept.
June 23, 2006. Go to OSF Emergency Room Patient Satsifaction. Hospitals need to heal themselves.
June 23, 2006:
Pam Adams wrote an article yesterday in the Journal Star regarding OSF tearing down trees to build the most expensive construction (234 million dollars) project in Peoria history. Part of this project will include building a new Children’s Hospital at OSF. It seems that children in a local day care center were disturbed with seeing the trees destroyed. OSF, with incredible generosity, purchased a tree and had a “tree planting ceremony” so the children would be happy again. It was a good learning experience for everyone, I suppose. I wonder what the Peoria children’s responses would be if they knew that Haitian children their age with heart disease were being turned down at OSF-Children’s Hospital of Illinois for medical care and the Haitian children were going to die like the uprooted trees. If the kids protested again, would OSF intervene to save Haitian children’s lives? Moral of this story: Peoria trees and community perception are more important than dying Haitian children.
June 22, 2006: Go to Willi's Pacemaker. Willi Fortune admitted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center.
June 19, 2006: Go to Peoria's Greed. Methodist Medical Center Emergency Department Chairman wrote a Forum article regarding emergency medical care in Peoria.
June 17, 2006: Go to Bishop Jenky's Threat. More frustration with Bishop Jenky's local policy. Bishop Jenky needs to take over and do the right thing for the Diocese.
June 16, 2006: Go to Keith's Letter. The USA TODAY published an article stating that the emergency medical system in the United States is very ill. Sounds like Peoria to me.
June 14, 2006: Go to Keith Steffen and the Apostolic Christian Community. More on poaching nurses from the developing world.
June 8, 2006: Go to Peoriapundit.com to read how OSF continues to abuse the good name of the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis.
June 5, 2006:
Go to Diane's Letter. A prayer for OSF and The Catholic Diocese of Peoria written by St. Vincent de Paul.
June 4, 2006: Go to Peoria's Greed. There definitely is a way for OSF-SFMC and the Peoria Area EMS System to help Peorians when they dial 911. But will they?
June 4, 2006: "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."ST. FRANCIS of ASSISI
June 3, 2006 Go to Keith Steffen and the Apostolic Christian Community. Comments regarding Mr. Steffen's regard for the nurses at OSF and luring nurses from the Philippines to OSF.
May 21, 2006: Go to Peoria City Council--February 7, 2006. Comments regarding the Dunlap Fire Protection and their interaction with the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services regarding transportation of sick or injured people in Dunlap.
May 18, 2006: Go to Peoria City Council--February 7, 2006. The Journal Star reported today that the Dunlap Fire Protection will not be able to transport seriously injured or real sick patients...but if you are semi-sick, you can be transported by Dunlap. Does that make total sense to you? Do the good people in Dunlap know what is the motivating factor for this delusional emergency medical system in the Peoria area? The PAEMSS officials didn't comment. I will comment as soon as possible.
May 18, 2006: We are in Haiti now and visited an 11-year-old girl named Katina. She had her heart operated at OSF in Peoria several years ago and will need a new mitral valve soon. She also has sickle cell disease. Her home was set on fire by a gang in December, 2004. She and her family survived and have moved to a different spot in the capital. While in Peoria, she stayed with my family. We want her back when she needs her surgery. Will OSF reject her also?
May 18, 2006: Go to Peoria City Council---February 7, 2006. I wrote a Forum submission to the Peoria Journal Star comparing Ottawa's Emergency Medical System to Peoria's. Ottawa's Fire Department can do much more for its citizens than the Peoria Fire Department can do. Power and greed in Peoria are malignant and emergency system providers all over Illinois knows how and why this "plays in Peoria". The Peoria Journal Star did not publish my article.
May 16, 2006: Go to Jackson Shouldn't Have Died. I sent OSF and the Diocese an email on May 14, 2006 regarding Faustina Jacques. See letter and her picture. Will OSF commit the same errors as they did with Jackson or will they follow what their mission statements mandate?
May 14, 2006: Conversations With Keith. Institutional malpractice and the New England Journal of Medicine. Keith Steffen didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I mentioned this to him 5 years ago about keeping patients for extended periods of time in the OSF ER.
May 2, 2006:
Joe Piccione: Ethics vs. Practice. Do Joe Piccione and Dr. Gerry McShane practice what they preach?
May 1, 2006: Keith's Letter. Finally, it is public that OSF ED is operating at "twice its capacity". Mr. Steffen states that OSF would be "remiss" if changes don't occur. Emergency journal states that overcrowding is a "serious public health threat".
April 30, 2006: More Fear. Terry Bibo's story today is very sad.
April 30, 2006: Basic Drugs. More on the need to give aspirin to heart attacks victims quickly. Why wasn't the Peoria Fire Department. Where were the doctors in charge??
April 30, 2006:
Bishop Jenky Rejects Catholic Tribunal Court. Statement from Archbishop Oscar Romero. What would Archbishop Romero's response be to he treatment of Haitian children from the Catholic Diocese of Peoria?
April 30, 2006: Bishop Jenky's Threat. At the bottom of the post is a letter published in the PJS Forum by a Peorian who is concerned that OSF and the new 234 million dollar expansion will not offer oral contraceptives. I tried to put his fears to rest.
April 23, 2006: CHOI Advisory Board post to see letter written today about Jackson's family in Haiti. Also, please go to livefromhaiti.blogspot.com for a very insightful look at Haiti written from deep inside this beautiful country.
Jackson Jean-Baptiste is pictured to the right in a photo from Haiti during the Spring, 2005. Jackson died in January, 2006.