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Former Kaiser Doctor Talks To
KGO By Debora
Nov. 11 - KGO - A
doctor who once worked at Kaiser Permanente in South
San Francisco claims preventable medical mistakes happened too often at
that hospital. He says cost-cutting moves put patients' lives in
and when he tried to warn Kaiser, he was fired.
Dr. Cyrus Safai,
former Kaiser doctor: "It was an uphill battle, sometimes
a daily battle."
radiologist Cyrus Safai worked at Kaiser for 13 years, the
final years a battle he says as budget cuts made quality care
attorney: "He was just not provided the staffing, the
technology or the nurse to be able to the procedures that needed to be
done and so the linkage between cost and inadequate care was clear in
of these cases."
conditions worsened and patients who died waiting for
lawsuit against Kaiser claims, case after case, where patients
were "denied and delayed care" and suffered "gross misdiagnosis with
He complained all
the way up to the state medical board, telling them:
Dr. Cyrus Safai,
former Kaiser doctor: "There was an unwritten policy
of let the patient die but save the budget."
Kaiser is under
scrutiny now, after acknowledging four patient deaths
due to medical mistakes: overdoses or drug mix-ups, and in one
feeding a patient solid food against doctor's orders.
It's estimated as
many as 98,000 Americans die from medical errors each
Bristow, former president, American Medical Association:
"Healthcare has gotten so complex, particularly during the last 30 to
years, that it now becomes very error-prone because of the
But Dr. Safai
believes many mistakes come from cost-cutting because
staff is over-burdened and under-equipped.
found many of the same deficiencies he complained about
at his hospital and his colleagues launched a petition drive to get
to reinstate him.
says, they ousted him to silence him about mistakes he
believes continue to this day.
Dr. Cyrus Safai:
"In my experience and incidents I was involved in &
many of them were covered-up."
Dr. Safai's case
goes to trial in January.
Kaiser about his claims and his wrongful termination
lawsuit, but the health care giant had no comment.
trying to formulate a statement about the rash of fatal
mistakes in the South Bay other than to say they are taking full
and are taking corrective action.
Take Action Into
Your Own Hands
Elaine Alquist says she will propose legislation in January
mandating hospitals report serious medical errors within 48 hours and
the state to create a database to make that information public. Tell
what you think by sending her an e-mail through our ABC7 Taking Action
ABC7 News Team
General Assignment Reporter
EMAIL: Contact Debora
Dr. Cyrus Safai
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