In September, 2001 I wrote this letter to Keith Steffen, CEO of Saint Francis Medical Center (SFMC) in Peoria.
I was concerned about the safety of the patients in the ER at OSF because of ER overcrowding. This medical negligence put the central Illinois community at risk if ambulances went on diversion from OSF and pre hospital patients needed to wait even longer for medical care.
ER overcrowding is caused by many reasons that have been documented in the medical literature the last decade. Greed and poor hospital administration rank high on the list.
In the July, 2010 issue of InterBusiness Issues, a free publication in Peoria, Mr. Steffen is quoted regarding the new $280 million dollar Milestone Project at OSF which is about ready to open for "business".
Mr. Steffen states that the present ER at OSF was built to see 33,000 patients per year. He states that the OSF ER is currently seeing 74,000 patients each year.
When I wrote the letter above to Mr. Steffen, we were seeing about 60,000 patients each year in the very crowded OSF ER. And with the ineffecient hospital management of inpatient beds, ER patients were dangerously waiting too long.
I asked Mr. Steffen at the time if OSF-SFMC was guilty of "institutional malpractice". He asked me what that was. I was surprised at his answer and told him that I thought he could answer that question much better than I could.
Now, nine years later after I spoke with Mr. Steffen regarding the above, the numbers he quotes speak for themselves.
The Milestone Project at OSF will be feted this month as it opens its doors. (Whether the building will have adequate numbers of nurses and employees is a different issue.)
And while Peoria celebrates the new medical center technology, OSF will continue letting their Haitian Hearts patients die unseen and homeless, living in the rubble of post-earthquake Port-au-Prince.
Many people in central Illinois are covering for OSF right now. They don't want the public to know how OSF has banned dying Haitian Hearts patients that were operated at OSF in the past from returning to OSF. And people are very afraid of OSF...so afraid they won't even approach OSF's Mr. Steffen to plead for the young Haitian life. (Mr. Steffen told me that fear is a good thing among OSF employees.)
But OSF's patient negligence and lies will be exposed. And we will all be shaking our heads and wonder how this was ever allowed to happen.