Understandably ill-informed

The following letter appeared in the Alameda Journal:

“Don’t skimp on funds for Alameda Hospital

On Aug. 2 with no pain — just shortness of breath — I left work at 8 a.m. and drove myself to the Alameda Hospital emergency room. I thought it was my asthma. I was in increasing distress.

The emergency staff immediately took me in, did an EKG, chest X-rays, started IVs and determined I was having a heart attack. This was a shock. I have no history in my family and never experienced chest pains.

The emergency room staff, with extraordinary professionalism, summoned Alameda Fire Department paramedics, who transported me with red lights and siren to Summit Cardiac Center Cath Lab for an emergency angioplasty and stent — all this before noon. Having my own HMO with its facilities in Oakland, I was one who hesitated to support the bond measure that would fund Alameda Hospital. I didn’t think I would be able to use it.

In my shortsightedness, I failed to grasp the fact that each citizen on Alameda island could have a life-threatening event at any moment, and the Alameda Hospital emergency room and fire department paramedics are all we have between life and, yes, death itself.

I am again, so grateful to live on Alameda.”

The letter writer displays an amazing ignorance.  I am certainly happy that this turned out well for him/her but driving themself to the ER, thinking that their time in the Alameda Hospital ER was anything but dangerous delay and concluding that they are safer because Alameda Hospital 1. delayed their treatment 2. charged them for that privilege  3. Did nothing really except summoned help is ignorant.

I understand that this person feels good about what happened, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  And this is why it is almost impossible to rid ourselves of the costly, health-destroying institution.  The ignorant fed by the politically ambitious (Rob Bonta, Mary Ezzy-Ashcraft, Lena Tam, Stewart Chen) and the dishonestly self-interested (Rob Deutsch and Debit Stebbins) have just so much more social capital. (Lauren Do, Jordan Battani,  and John Knox White when given a choice of standing with their friends or for the truth will choose their friends because that’s the civil way to go and, they are, just like this letter writer too ignorant to see the truth.)

I am still waiting for a knowledgeable person to articulate an argument for the Hospital that doesn’t distill down to the “voters approved it many years ago and you don’t have any smoking gun* that it kills people.”
*Actually, there is a smoking gun and the State fined the Hospital $50,000 for the inappropriate use of fentanyl patches.  The Hospital is appealing that fine (an appeal that I will be astonished if they win).

About egorelick

Gadfly. Former City of Alameda Healthcare District Board member.
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2 Responses to Understandably ill-informed

  1. Pingback: This November, remember… « Raising Hell For Good

  2. Liz Williams says:

    Thank you for speaking the simple truth about the cartel that is Alameda Hospital, Alameda Hospital and those currently in power in the city. As a healthcare consultant, I’m perhaps more deeply aware of the life-altering effects of delaying competent treatment for heart attack and stroke than the average person. But only in Alameda is that lack of knowledge raised to the level of cult-like loyalty. This poor reader cannot know that not being treated at a cardiac cath lab within the first 90 minutes has damaged her heart muscle. The timeframe specified, from 8:00am to 12:00 noon, is well beyond that threshold. (There is a national push amongst competent, fully equipped hospitals to meet the 90-minute threshold. It’s not easy when all the equipment is in place. Alameda Hospital lacks all such equipment.) Summit is the closest certified Heart Center, which means they are fully equipped and staffed 24-hours a day. Kaiser also has nearby hospitals with that designation. Because of the damage to her heart muscle, this person is now in much worse shape than if she’d gone to either Summit or Kaiser in the first place. I too am stunned at the self-injurious idiocy that pervades this island.

    I’ll say it again: The window for treating a heart attack without permanently damaging the heart muscle is 90 minutes. The window for treating stroke without losing brain cells is 60 minutes. Going to Alameda hospital guarantees that you will miss these windows. Being given clot-busting drugs to “tide you over,” is a wonderful thing when you live far from competent help. Receiving them in the heart of the Bay Area where excellent hospitals abound is dangerous, foolish, and nothing to be grateful for.

    Wake up, Alamedans! The Fire department is protecting their high salaries and 100K/year pensions, as is the Alameda Hospital Board. You’re going to have to take care of yourself and get off the island for competent healthcare.

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