Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Here's a little list (compiled mainly from stories out of the LA Times and the OC Register) of UC Irvine scandals over the last few years, just to help me keep track of all this:

In 2005 came news of the death of 32 patients waiting for liver transplants that were never going to come. The livers were available, but, for two years, UCI did not have a full time surgeon to implant them, in contravention of federal regulations. UCI's surgeon was actually on staff at UC San Diego, almost 100 miles away. UC Irvine never notified the dying patients that they didn't have a full time surgeon on staff. Just before leaving the program with no full-time surgeon, the last UCI transplant surgeon, who had been performing an unusually small number of transplants, with a survival rate below federal standards, is alleged to have threatened staff members with "liability" should "patients find out something and decide to sue."

The woman whose lawsuit eventually led to exposure of this scandal was Elodie Irvine. Ms. Irvine, who had liver and kidney disease, had 95 organs offered to her by UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, while she waited for a transplant at UCI. All those organs were rejected by UCI, while she was told they were just waiting for organs. Only one UCI physician advised her to look elsewhere for a transplant. The rest of UCI allegedly left her, and most everyone else on the “transplant” list, to die.

In the 90s, UCI allegedly stole eggs from women who had come for fertility treatments. The responsible physicians fled the country to escape federal prosecution. At least one UCI trustee claims to have resigned his post largely because (he claimed) that the trustees were planning to support the errant physicians.

In 2006 it was alleged that, for approximately 15 years, the University had been covering up the existence of children from those stolen eggs. In at least one case, it appears that the process of removing eggs from an unwitting young woman, who had come for a fallopian tube procedure, rendered her infertile. That young woman's eggs developed into at least two children, who are now in their late teens, but the woman was never able to conceive. She did not know that she had children until 2005. Another approximately 20 such children, from 20 unwitting "donors," are now in their late teens, and the families are suing for damages and to learn the identity of their children. The University is arguing that the statute of limitations for this case has expired.

In December 2005, UCI settled a lawsuit brought over the (still-missing) body of Anneliese Yuenger. UC employees allegedly tried to pass off a bag of miscellaneous cremated body parts, instead of Yuenger’s body, to the family. This was only a small part of a willed-body scandal that affected many families, UCI, and UCLA.

In 2003, UCI hired Jagat Narula and Mani Vannan as the chief and division chief of cardiology. Neither was board certified in internal medicine nor cardiology, and neither had a California medical license. Narula then allegedly forced out electrocardiologist Michael Brodsky, and hired David Cesario, the son of med school dean Thomas Cesario, to take his place.

In 2003, Dr. Glenn Prevost presented a 13-signature petition alleging anesthesia safety problems. He says that soon after complaining about a supervisor forcing him "to take patients to the operating room without consent, chart, or preoperative check-in by the operating room nurse ... in an attempt to cut costs," he was fired and allegely blackballed.

In Feb 2001, the University of California agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle allegations that it's teaching hospitals routinely submitted false billings to Medicare, Medicaid and other Federally-funded health programs. The whistleblower, who had been at UCI, left UCI, and was allegedly blackballed. She’s since been embroiled in lawsuits against the University of California.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Informed consent seems to be a big problem for anesthesiologists. I told my caregivers (and I use that term loosely) that I was not to have a general anesthetic for my outpatient procedure and that I was to remain awake and alert. Since they were unable to convince me that I "needed" general anesthesia, they gave me a drug called Versed, which they called "Vitamin V." I was rendered catatonic, which was very disconcerting to say the least. No informed consent, no prior warning, just a bonk on the head with Versed, after which the CRNA states that I did not object to the general anesthetic. Hmmmm. I didn't get the doctor desired amnesia, but was unable to move, speak or defend myself in any way. I didn't want a GA and I assuredly didn't want Versed. To think that I might sign out against medical advice and deprive them of all that money... Not have Versed and a GA! Unthinkable.