Thursday, May 29, 2008

CPAP Fails in Peoria

In November, 2007 I asked the Peoria City Council to consider discussing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) for the Peoria Fire Department(PFD) to help people who call 911 in respiratory distress (such as heart failure).

CPAP is used by prehospital providers (ambulances) in numerous cities with excellent results for the patient. See article.

In order to use CPAP, the PFD would have to have this cleared by OSF.

I spoke to a fire fighter who told me that the PFD is not using CPAP.

I guess OSF did not like the idea for some reason.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Catholic Diocese of Peoria Ignores My Brother's Letters

My brother Tom wrote the Catholic Diocese of Peoria multiple times in the early 2000's. His letters were logical and Tom asked excellent questions.

Tom never received an answer to any letter from Bishop Daniel Jenky.

After watching Haitian children die terrible deaths in the last two years, Tom's letters proved to be prophetic.

My brother and I have a new understanding how the Catholic Church was able to keep the clergy sex abuse scandal quiet for so long. We have lived through the Diocese of Peoria's malignant silence over dying Haitian kids that they could have helped if they really wanted to.

See this letter written by Tom in 2003.

"Readers, I need your help..."

I have constructed a letter (below) to people in the Peoria area that may have influence with the policy makers at OSF.

If any of you have contacts with other medical centers around the U.S. that would consider operating on these girls, please notify me.

Pictured is Katina with her father. I will post pictures of Jenny and Heureuse also.

Thank you.

May, 2008

Dear ------------,

Since 1995, Haitian Hearts has brought over 125 babies, children, and young adults to the United States for surgery. Most of the surgery has been cardiac surgery. Haiti does not have the technology to consistently and reliably support cardiac patients who need sophisticated heart-lung bypass capabilities.

OSF accepted Haitian Hearts patients in the 1990’s and their young lives were made better with the skilled nurses, perfusionists, and physicians in Peoria.

OSF was following their mission statements while Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 million dollars to OSF-Children's Hospital of Illinois for the medical care offered the Haitian children.

After I was fired from OSF in 2001, the medical center spokesperson informed the Peoria community that Haitian Hearts would continue even though I was terminated. However, in 2002, all funding from OSF for Haitian Hearts was stopped by OSF and the American Consulate in Haiti was notified by OSF to deny any further visas for Haitian Hearts children with cardiac conditions to come to Peoria’s OSF.

In 2003, I was notified by OSF’s legal counsel (Hinshaw-Culbertson) that OSF would not accept any further patients referred by me and this included Haitian Hearts patients. (I was notified again by the same lawyer in 2006 that OSF would continue their Haitian Hearts embargo.)

Unfortunately, two young Haitian men that were operated at OSF in the late 90’s and returned to Haiti, became ill in Haiti. I treated both in Haiti for extended periods of time but both needed further heart surgery to stay alive. Both were denied care at OSF in spite of the wishes of their local central Illinois host families and physicians that advocated for them.

Both patients died without heart surgery. Their Haitian and American families were devastated.

How could this happen?

Now I have three young women Heureuse, Jenny, and Katina that were operated at OSF. All need further heart surgery. If Heureuse dies, she will leave two children less than 5 years old in one of Haiti’s worst slums with no support. (Their father is dead.)

I have the girls on medications that Haitian Hearts brings to Haiti to keep them alive while they await surgery. They are in Haiti awaiting word from me now.

I have not been able to find other medical centers around the United States to accept these patients. Since they have been operated at OSF other medical centers believe that OSF should continue care for their patients. Many reasons are obvious why OSF should allow these girls to return to OSF.

Their Haitian families and American families are praying that OSF will make the beneficent decision for these girls.

Haitian Hearts can offer 5-10,000 dollars for the care of each girl. (A smaller charge by OSF will allow Haitian Hearts to bring further children to the United States.)

Last weeks issue of the Catholic Post in Peoria has two very timely quotes from Pope Benedict that OSF should read carefully:

“Within the community of believers, there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.”

“The responsibility of Christians to work for peace and justice, their irrevocable commitment to build up the common good, is inseparable from their mission to proclaim the gift of eternal life to which God has called every man and woman.”

I respectfully ask you to do all you can to convince OSF to allow their Haitian Hearts patients mentioned above to return to OSF, allow them to have surgery by Peoria’s specialists, and receive a new chance at life.

If you were these girls doctor, mother, or father, would you not be insisting that they receive the best care possible? The best care for them is right here in Peoria at OSF.

Please let me know.


John Carroll, M.D.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is Required

"It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required."

Sir Winston Churchill

(Haitian Hearts patient Heureuse, holding her little girl. Heureuse is being denied repeat heart surgery by OSF-SFMC in Peoria and is contemplating her imminent death. When she is gone Heureuse will leave two little children alone in a slum in Port-au-Prince. She asked my wife and I if we would take her little girl.)

Keith Steffen and Hospital Rounds

See the revised Conversations with Keith at Peoria's Medical Mafia.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Political Contributions

At the website Illinois State Board of Elections one can see who makes political contributions, where the contributions go, and the amount of the contributions. After arriving at this site, just click "contributions search" on the left hand side of the screen and follow the easy instructions.

Since the mid 1990's the following (close approximations) has been donated by the entities and people listed below:

1. OSF--$232,000.00

2. Keith Steffen, CEO OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center, individual private contributions--$13,025.00

3. James Moore, CEO OSF,Inc.--$18,385.00

4. Advanced Medical Transport Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Corporate Medical Director (given as individual private contributions):

1. Andrew Rand, Executive Director--$8,400.00
2. George Hevesy, M.D., Corporate Medical Director--$2,250.00
3. Robert Viets--$27,050.00
4. Brock Hessing--$3,100.00
5. Robert Klaus--$3,100.00
6. Carol Shields--$8,378.80
7. Don White--$3,305.00
8. Sue Wozniak--$1,250.00

5. Wayne Baum--Peoria Heights business man and supporter of Advanced Medical Transport--$54,365.39

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pay to Play in Illinois

The Tribune published an article on April 30, 2008: State Targets "Pay to Play".

Below are some excerpts:

Last week Illinois lawmakers took a step toward barring companies that want state business from showering politicians with cash. It is a renewed effort aimed at ending Illinois "pay to play" culture.

The renewed effort aimed at ending Illinois' pay-to-play culture comes days after a Tribune examination revealed Blagojevich received 235 contributions of exactly $25,000. Most of the donors got something from the administration, whether it was contracts, appointments on boards, or favorable policy or regulatory action.

Former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, is in federal prison in Indiana, convicted of corruption charges in a federal probe where his campaign fund became the first in the nation's history found guilty of racketeering.

Three years ago, Blagojevich vowed to "rock the system" with sweeping reforms to impose tough limits on donations, but he has done little to advance the proposal.

Since then, the Tribune has reported Blagojevich's campaign fund has been subpoenaed by federal authorities.

At the federal corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, one of Blagojevich's fundraisers, testimony emerged linking the governor himself to efforts to trade contracts for campaign assistance. Blagojevich has denied the allegations, saying his administration does not do business that way.

See next post to see a partial list of who contributes in Peoria.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Rezko and Peoria...Connect the Dots (Updated 12/29/2008)

People in Peoria need to keep an eye on the Tony Rezko federal fraud trial occurring now in Chicago. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is the lead prosecutor.

Attorney Fitzgerald, the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, was the special prosecutor investigating the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame, prosecuted former Illinois governor George Ryan, and built the first criminal indictment in 1998 against the world’s most hunted terrorist, Osama bin Laden.

Anything can happen in this trial in Chicago which is far from over.

Mr. Rezko is a defendant in the current case in which he is charged with exploiting his Blagojevich administration clout to influence actions of Illinois state boards in a scheme to extort millions of dollars of kickbacks.

One of the boards involved is the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

The Board was created in 1974 to slow down health care cost increases resulting from unnecessary construction by health care facilities. The Board issues certificates of need that allow health facilities to modify or construct facilities. The Health Board reviews large construction projects proposed by hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers.

This Board was corrupted years ago as will be explained.

Stuart Levine is a lawyer from upstate Illinois. He is the star prosecution witness in the trial of indicted political fixer Tony Rezko. On March 10, 2008, Levine told the jury that even before he got involved with the Blagojevich administration, he used to funnel campaign contributions to Democratic candidates through straw donors at the request of former Chicago Alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has also been indicted on federal fraud and bribery charges in a related case.

Levine’s term on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board was set to expire in 2004, but key people and politicians involved in the Rezko indictment (and in big trouble with the feds now) made sure Levine remained on the panel. It appears that Levine’s appointment on the Board had a wide array of support, including Mr. Rezko of course.

Also, Senator Barrack Obama’s name showed up in the email exchanges as reviewing the recommendations to appoint Levine and others to the Board. While all this was going on, as a state senator, Senator Obama was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. As such, his name also appeared in the email exchanges as a member of a team working on legislation to keep the Board from expiring under a sunset provision of Illinois law.

In other words, they wanted to keep the Board alive.

Well the political leaders, including Senator Obama, were able to keep the Board alive and, in the end, changes made by lawmakers in 2003 dropped the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, making it much easier to stack the panel, and by the summer of 2003, all they needed was a 5-bloc vote.

In 2003, Thomas Beck, an Illinois businessman, was the chairman of the Board and Levine was the vice-chairman. Beck testified, under a grant of immunity, and told the jury that he took a $1,000 donation for Blagojevich when he (Beck) met with Rezko to seek reappointment. Prosecutors in the ongoing Rezko trial say Levine used his position on the health facilities planning board and a state pension board to pressure companies for payoffs.

So Beck and Levine would be good for 2 votes on the Board. The persons chosen to guarantee the remaining 3 votes were Drs. Imad Alomanaseer, Michel Malek, and Fortunee Massuda. All was good. The 5-bloc vote was guaranteed.

Why does a politician have an interest in who sits on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board? Because it’s important to hospitals who want to build and expand, and it’s important to politicians who want to raise money from hospitals.

OSF Inc. in Peoria has donated a known $230,000 dollars to Illinois politicians since the late ‘90’s.

Last month, in March 2008, during an interview with the Tribune, Senator Obama was asked if he had discussions with Mr. Rezko about recommendations for the Board.

“I did not have any formal discussions with Tony (Rezko),” Obama said, “beyond one individual, and that was Dr. Eric Whitaker, who ultimately became the head of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and who had been a longtime friend of mine, who I had known since he was getting his master’s at Harvard and I was at the law school there.”

“He had expressed an interest in that post (Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board), Obama told Rezko, “I think this guy is outstanding and is certainly somebody who is worthy of an interview.”

However, as it turned out, Tony Rezko must have been under impressed with Dr. Whitaker. He was not appointed to the Board but, as noted above, Dr. Whitaker was appointed as director of IDPH.

Prior to being appointed as Director of IDPH, Dr. Whitaker worked at the Cook County Bureau of Health Services in Chicago, which again has been described by many as the most corrupt and inefficient taxpayer supported public health system in the entire country.

So Dr. Whitaker became part of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s administration, which many observers have tagged as the most unethical if not the most corrupt administration in the history of Illinois. Dr. Whitaker voluntarily stood in pictures with Blagojevich through many of Blagojevich’s medical fiascos in Illinois.

This is the same Dr. Whitaker who I wrote and informed of my concerns regarding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the monopoly of care in the Peoria area. (Dr. Whitaker responded to me that I needed to contact the EMS division of IDPH, which of course was not helpful.) See Peoria’s Medical Mafia.

This is the same Dr. Whitaker who was privy to the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services written statement regarding OSF-SFMC’s Dr. George Hevesy’s conflict of interest in Peoria. The written statement said that even though Dr. Hevesy was Vice-Chairman of the OSF-SFMC Emergency Department, Project Medical Director (the physician controlling ambulances and pre hospital care) for the Peoria area, Director of Region II for IDPH, and was receiving a salary from Advanced Medical Transport (the only paramedic agency in Peoria), this did NOT constitute conflict of interest or even the "POTENTIAL" for conflict of interest in Peoria. (The Peoria Fire Department and many other of the 70 EMS agencies controlled by Dr. Hevesy disagreed.)

Interestingly, Dr. Whitaker had nice awards for OSF-Emergency Department in Peoria during his tenure as Director of IDPH.

A news release from May 19, 2005 from Dr. Whitaker, presented Dr. Rick Miller, a physician at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, with the Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care Award for his contributions to Pediatric medicine. (As many people in the Peoria area EMS circle know, Miller was the Director of OSF-Emergency Department for many years and Project Medical Director, and worked with IDPH regarding EMS in central Illinois.)

The following year, 2006, another press release, this time from the office of the governor. Governor Rod Blagojevich presented John Hafner, Jr, M.D. with the Ron W. Lee. M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards for his contribution to childhood care.

(In 2007, Dr. Whitaker left IDPH and is now an executive vice-president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. That would be the same employer that pays Michelle Obama a salary of close to $350,000 as a vice president.)

And yet, readers, we are not done with the benevolence and love from the State of Illinois for OSF and Peoria.

Another news release on September 4, 2007 from Governor Blagojevich was titled: “Governor Blagojevich Announces Support for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Expansion in Peoria that will Create Nearly 1,000 Jobs---Illinois Finance Authority Issues $460 Million in Bond Financing to Build New, State-of-the-Art Patient Tower.”

What this means is that the corrupt Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board had given a Certificate of Need for the OSF Milestone Project in September 2006 and now the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will issue $460 million in tax-exempt bonds for OSF's largest private expansion in Peoria history.

This was IFA’s second largest financing in ITS history.

Unfortunately, like other Illinois state affairs, the IFA has not been without its serious problems.

The Tribune published an article a week ago, “The Governor’s $25,000 Club”. It is another incredibly embarrassing chapter in the history of pay-for-play in Illinois politics.

Stay with me for another minute…here is how it goes:

Among the $25,000 donors to governor Blagojevich in 2003 was Ali Ata, who Governor Blagojevich later picked to become director of the IFA. Ata pleaded guilty last week to lying to federal agents when he denied his two $25,000 contributions helped get him his $127,000-a-year job. Ata’s plea came amid the federal corruption trial of top Blagojevich insider Tony Rezko, who is accused of extorting bribes and campaign contributions from people seeking state business.

Ata is now cooperating with federal prosecutors and faces up to 18 months in prison on charges that include lying to investigators about a conversation he had with Blagojevich about joining Blagojevich’s administration.

When Ata left his post at the IFA in 2005 he was replaced by the former executive of a Downstate bank whose parent company also contributed $25,000 dollars to Governor Blagojevich. Jill Rendleman took over as director of IFA after two years on its advisory board, a 2003 appointment she received the same month as her parent company’s $25,000 donation.

And remember IFA (and its pay-for-play director?) is helping OSF in Peoria to the tune of $460 million so OSF can expand its campus which is located one block from another major medical center (Methodist Medical Center) in Peoria.

Isn’t that great?

Just think if Attorney Fitzgerald really looked into OSF’s contacts with the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (and good old Stuart Levine) as OSF built its opulent OSF Center for Health in the 90’s on the lucrative north side of Peoria. And what would Attorney Fitzgerald find when OSF obtained its certificate for need from the Board for the current 500 million dollar medical campus expansion program in downtown Peoria?

What would Attorney Fitzgerald find if he looked into OSF’s contacts with IDPH and its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) division? Would Attorney Fitzgerald think that there was negative conflict of interest in Peoria and a monopoly in Peoria regarding paramedic care and transport of the pre hospital patient?

Corruption doesn’t just happen in Chicago. And I don’t believe that Attorney Fitzgerald, who extracted a guilty plea from Mafia capo John Gambino, would be shy about looking at Peoria’s “leaders” if need be in the interests of the Rezko trial.

I think Peorians need to follow the Rezko trial closely in Chicago as Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his team do their thing. This fraud trial has far reaching tentacles. Even though we are downstate Illinois, if the feds want it, the arrows may indeed point here someday.


See this article by Lynn Sweet. Note that it is written in October. It is about Eric Whitaker and his ties to Rezko.


Some sentences and quotes above are directly from the following sources: