Posted by S & G on January 25, 1999 at 01:12:09:
CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ THE ENTIRE 3 PARTS OF THIS STORY.
Medical Cover-Ups: The Code Of Silence
By Eric Mason, KOIN 6 News
Medical cover-ups are not the kind of thing you want to hear about your local hospital. But injured patients say secrecy is the number one problem they face. There's a push to protect you and break the Code of Silence.
"It's been a living hell for 11 years," says Diane Lunenberg, pictured below.
For more than a decade she says she's struggled with a disability that she received from those who were supposed to heal her. And what's worse, she can't find out how a tube ended up in her head after an peration, and who is responsible.
"What's so disappointing is find out what a huge problem it is -- what a huge code of silence in the
medical profession there is in regard to injured patients," says Lunenberg.
She says there are thousands of people like her.
Doctor and medical critic Matt Gruber says the medical establishment has been hiding behind a wall of secrecy for years, and that includes the Board of Medical Examiners.
"It's the most secretive of the state agencies that I have been able to find so far," says Gruber.
Gruber, once a target of the board, says he'll support legislation that would open up information about investigations to patients, and just as importantly, doctors who are the target of probes.
"I haven't been given any information on what the process was, what I could expect," says Dr, Harriet Cooke.
Dr. Cook is currently a target of the board and says she's a victim of secrecy too. She's not accused of harming any patients, but she's been unable to see patients since June.
With both doctors and patients complaining, lawmakers like Sen. Randy Miller would consider a bill to make access to information easier.
"If the scales are out of balance, they ought to be out of balance in favor of the consumer, the patient," Miller says.
Secrecy in the medical system will no doubt be another subject of concern at the next legislative
session. Privacy will be an issue. But balanced against that is a patient's right to know -- the right to know about doctors who are treating them.
Eric Mason, Special to Channel 6000
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