Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drug Abuse by LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport Nurses And Doctors Must Stop Now!!!

The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform recently learned that an ER nurse at the LSUHSC-Shreveport tested positive for drugs-again.  This came as no surprise. Many current and former employees know of the rampant drug abuse at the institution by even some of  the top administrators. Current and former employees, in an effort to see definitive action taken, long ago informed the current leaders of LSUHSC. Although we cannot give names here they were given names and specific incidences. Random drug screening was one of the recommendations. But no significant action has been taken.

It is obvious that when peoples’ lives are involved such as at a hospital there should be zero tolerance of drug abuse.  A hospital is not a place for unstable individuals. Yet a high proportion of the nursing staff in the ER is either using illegal or legal psychotropic drugs. One of the legal drugs that is abused is alcohol. Some nurses come in with alcohol on their breath. Other nurses and doctors in and outside of the ER have accumulated DWIs and DUIs.

Maybe the reason patients are abused at LSUHSC is because of the psychological instability of many of its doctors and nurses. We have documented beatings, torture, criminal negligence, and incompetence.  Not only are regular patients the victims, helpless psychiatric patients and shackled prisoners have also been roughed up. One psychiatric patient’s jaw was broken. One psychiatric patient had an oversized catheter shoved up his penis. Nurses laughed as he screamed. In another case the mouth of a patient who was seriously injured was stuffed with gauze because his pain was causing him to make too much noise. This patient later died in the hospital under mysterious circumstances. One psychiatric patient died after a three-day wait in the ER waiting room.  She defecated and urinated on herself after waiting for three days and approaching death repeatedly cried out, “Will somebody please help me?” A nurse who heard this said, Her fat ass is going to have to lay in that.” and then went to breakfast. While the nurse was at breakfast the patient died.

In a recent case a psychiatric patient tried to hang himself after receiving numerous cigarette burns with the evidence pointing to an ER nurse.  We have also learned of the possible misuse of doctor’s prescriptions by personnel in the burn unit to illegally obtain Lortab that was allegedly covered up. The justice department has also documented fraudulent billing. Perhaps if the drug problem at LSUHSC were definitively addressed patients would get better care and honest and complete billing could be attained.

Instead of action by the administration we have seen doctors, nurses and staff who were documented drug abusers and who had physically abused patients promoted over more qualified individuals who were not substance abusers and did not have a record of patient abuse. We have seen a general pattern of promoting less qualified doctors, nurses and staff over more qualified individuals. EEOC judgments have been made against LSUHSC because it hired less qualified individuals over more qualified ones. This is the subject of a current lawsuit and an additional separate EEOC investigation. This has made us wonder whether one must be flawed or at least mediocre to be promoted at LSUHSC because that is who we see getting ahead. 

The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform is doing all it can to make LSUHSC-Shreveport an excellent place for patient care.  These are our positions.

We recommend that the current political office holders, Lydia Jackson, Roy Burrell, Patrick Williams and Barbara Norton be replaced. Our queries to them have convinced us that as long as they are in office nothing meaningful will be done.

Since none of the state or federal agencies has taken action so far we have contacted the United Nations Human Rights Council and will ask for an investigation of the Human Rights abuses at LSUHSC.

We will continue to assist patients and families who have been abused or the victims of incompetence.  We have assisted a member of a patient’s family who was visiting his relative in the hospital and was attacked and injured by an LSUHSC police officer. This police officer had a previous record of abuse prior to being hired by LSUHSC. This incident is the subject of a lawsuit against LSUHSC.

We still recommend random drug testing, not for one day but for everyday, for the highest administrators as well as those lower in the hierarchy.

We will continue to expose wrongdoing at LSUHSC. The administration has tried to suppress news of wrongdoing, failures and lawsuits.  Employees are terrified of speaking out. LSUHSC has been successful with most of the local media such as the Shreveport Times that still refuses to print the documented facts that we submit to it.  In spite of the opposition, we will not be quiet until all patients black, white, rich, poor, criminal, insane or unfortunate are treated with the courtesy, dignity and competence that human beings deserve.  This is our promise. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why the 12.8 Million Shortfall at LSUHSC-Shreveport?

Formerly an income generator to the tune of 30-100 million dollars a year, in just 2 years LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport (LSUHSC-S) has become an income loser.  In spite of this huge implosion of LSUHSC-S finances little explanation of it has appeared in the media. The Louisiana Citizens for HealthCare Reform continues to receive complaints of mistreatment and incompetence suffered by both black and white patients in spite of the fear within the institution of administrative retaliation. These are reasons that come from our analysis of how this failure has occurred.   

Failure of oversight - In spite of being told numerous times about the physical   abuse of patients and incompetence at LSUHSC-S the relevant state legislators, Lydia Jackson, Roy Burrell, Patrick Williams and Barbara Norton have not done anything of substance.  They have been given the power by the people to force LSUHSC-S to put  patients  first.  One action they could taken is a hearing open to the public on LSUHSC- S. They have failed to exercise their power behind the scenes or otherwise in any effective manner.  
People are going elsewhere for care.  Years of patient abuse and incompetent care have caused many to vote with their feet and go to other hospitals for their medical needs.

Wide screen television sets that were given to all department heads. This appears to be a luxury that has little justification.

Failure to organize faculty billing for  clinical work and  supervision of trainees to maximize revenue to the institution.

Fraudulent billing- Found guilty by the FBI for lying and billing for faculty work that was never done LSUHSC-S paid a 700,000-dollar fine as well as a settlement to the whistleblowers who were fired by LSUHSC-S. Within the last 12 months another FBI investigation has occurred to investigate continued fraudulent behavior. The LSUHSC-S and the media have been silent about this recent investigation.
High salaries for faculty and administrators. A substantial number of these salaries are in the 400,000-700,000 dollar/year range. Benefits may also be an added cost.

Failure of clinical faculty to generate grant money. There is unlimited grant money available from the federal government and other sources. To qualify for this a medical center has to have faculty involved with research and innovative programs.  Too few clinical faculty at LSUHSC are involved in such intellectual activity. Few if any clinical faculty are involved in generating inventions that could be commercialized and bring revenue to the university.

Failure to develop exceptional clinical capabilities that would attract patients worldwide. The previous chancellor went to Texas to have a surgical procedure that should have been available at a medical center the size of  LSUHSC-S.

Expensive signs and advertisements on billboards - Attractive signs don’t mean very much to someone suffering because of lack of patient care resources. We were first told that this expenditure came from the Feist Weiller Foundation and next we were told that it came from the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation. Wherever it came from the problem is that the first priority should be the care of patients not signs or real estate deals.

Real estate deals – At least two expensive real estate purchases were made by the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation for the medical center. One was a vacant church. Again there is a lack of focus on remedying the inadequate care of patients, which is one of the reasons patients are going elsewhere. Given the restrictions on the use of Foundation monies we also question the propriety of using Foundation money for this purpose.

Compliant media- The Shreveport Times continues to publish feel good stories of exaggerated importance about LSUHSC-S. It has ignored the many negative issues and failures of competent care such as the delay in the arrival of the trauma team when an injured 9-year-old girl was brought to the emergency room or the failure of the ER to recognize that a woman’s abdominal pain was due to her pregnancy resulting in the critical condition of the baby. The Times has relinquished the traditional role of the press as the public’s watchdog. Perhaps there is a need for another newspaper that better serves the public. With a go along to get along press LSUHSC continues to be controlled by a cabal of self-promoting insiders and a culture of mediocrity and acceptance of near or actual criminal behavior.  Someone needs to expose this. The new administration has made its peace with the insiders instead of providing the radical reform that is desperately needed. It is obvious that a 12.8 million dollar deficit demands explanation. But none has appeared in the mainstream press. We can only ask -Why?