By: Opinion Columnist Dr. Bharani Padmanabhan, October, 2013
Inevitably Sir Donald Berwick’s mindset ended up causing the Mid Staffs Scandal. The hospital at the center of this heart-rending scandal is Stafford Hospital, then under Sir Donald’s good friend Sir David Nicholson at the Staffordshire Health Authority (part of NHS West Midlands).
Hundreds of elderly patients were made to sit in their own urine and stool for DAYS. Thousands were left unfed by staff who ticked a Checklist box for delivering a food tray, and ticked another box for picking up the food tray even though the 80 and 90 year old patients were obviously unable to eat off the tray by themselves and did not. Hundreds of elderly patients starved to death. Thousands more had to drink water out of the flower vase after they were fully ignored. In England. In 2006.The staff did not care about people anymore. They just worked there. All they cared about was meeting the Checklist criteria of Sir Donald and friends because if they did not meet the quotas, they would be written up. No one in Sir Donald’s world ever got written up for letting an old woman starve to death. There was an excess of at least 1200 deaths at Stafford alone, in just four years, after his “reform”.
Remember, in this world they are forcing us into, the patient’s main role is to make the Doctor’s numbers look good. If your sugar remains stubbornly high, the Doctor will now simply fire you. Can’t let anything drag the numbers down. It is also inevitable that Clinics will lie about diabetics getting annual eye exams. Naturally none of Sir Donald’s, Dr. Leape’s and Dr. Gawande’s Checklists have anything to do with humanity or compassion. That’s why the Harvard-Cheesecake-Factory model applies perfectly to their world. A plate on a table. Removed. Done!
Numerous good people blew the whistle. They were immediately defamed as being mentally ill. One such good person (unlike Sir Donald, Sir David, Leape or Gawande) by the name of Kay Sheldon, was falsely declared in public to be a Paranoid Schizophrenic, exactly as in Stalin’s time.
It is crucial to note that for Sir Donald and Dr. Leape, mental illness is purely a stigma to fling at whistleblowers. This is true for medical staff (Dr. Greg Lipshutz + Dr. Soma Stout spring to mind) at Dr. Leape’s Cambridge Hospital too who are particularly happy to oblige. They still miss the time before the Wall came down. Interestingly Dag Hammarskjöld did exactly the same to Paul Bang-Jensen but that still did not save himself.
The CEO of NHS West Midlands at the time of the horrendous events was a Cynthia Bower who was rewarded for implementing Sir Donald’s mindset by being made the Chief of the Care Quality Commission. Naturally! She finally went home after being publicly condemned by the British Parliament, taking $2.2 Million as her spoils.
Sir Donald’s good friend Sir David Nicholson, a card-carrying Communist till 1983 – well past Prague, Honecker, The Gulag Archipelago and Jaruzelski – who was the CEO directly overseeing Staffordshire, continues to be Untouchable thanks to Sir Donald.
When the Francis Report was released, he asked his other good friend David Cameron (the 1st Prime Minister rejected by Parliament over a war vote since 1782) to hire Sir Donald to come up with a response to that report. Of course! Who else?! Certainly no one who would recommend that Sir David be immediately fired without a Golden Parachute. As a case of the foxes “examining” themselves over the carnage in the coop, this was a doozy!
It is apparent that the Globe’s article rang alarm bells given that the staffer who wrote the piece seems to have been compelled to then put out a glowing interview of Sir Donald in a clear attempt at damage control, an interview from which no one would have any idea how the current state of affairs both in England’s NHS and at Medicare reflects his mindset completely. The allegedly oh-so-noble Kaiser Family Foundation also immediately rushed out another interview calling him a “Health Quality Guru”!! It is on the allegedly nonpartisan NPR’s website, where Sir Donald again, just like his friend Dr. Leape, harps on the need to not punish anyone for wrongdoing, which explains why the number of potentially fatal “Never Events” doubled after Sir Donald reformed the NHS.
None of what I have written is tea bagging from the extreme Right. Nor am I in the pay of any company, political party or even a “nonprofit” fraud. Heck, thanks to Sir Donald’s friends, including Dr. Bor as well as the entirely corrupt MA Dept. of Public Health, I haven’t been paid for 3 years for seeing my own patients even, in an effort to throw me out of town before I can testify in a criminal trial about massive Medicare Fraud at Cambridge Hospital. A Stalinist Internal Exile comes closest to describing it. Progressives forced Solzhenitsyn to live for years on 1 Ruble a day. To my chagrin, I cost myself more every month than the great Solzhenitsyn cost himself.
And it’s all because when it comes to themselves and their Inner Party friends, Sir Donald and Dr. Leape remain adamant that no punishment is ever appropriate.
Their good friend Dr. Judy Ann Bigby for example presided over the deaths of 64 people this past year even though she had absolute authority and obligation to ensure compounding pharmacies had a prescription for each vial of medicine made. It is one of the things taxpayers gave her their hard-earned money to specifically do. Naturally her friends will ensure she goes unpunished for not doing her duty. Only then will Partners hospitals escape too for knowingly buying in bulk from a compounding pharmacy (hey! the Cheesecake Factory buys in bulk too). The singular exception being Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the exception that proves the rule.
After all Dr. Bigby is one of the best physicians to come out of Partners Healthcare, the Director of a Harvard Center of Excellence, and the very definition of an Untouchable. This is the Globe’s description of her – “Because if there’s one thing to know about Bigby, who is 52, it’s that she has a face-flooding, eyes-light-up-kind-of smile.” The Boston Globe is a newspaper as much as David Gregory is a journalist. If you think that under John Henry, with his real and understandable need to be cozy with city and state powers, the Globe will transform into an independent adversarial watchdog and protect the citizens of this Commonwealth from government and oligarchs, you are nuts.
Harvard being Harvard, an institution that gave a Professorship to Samantha Power but not to Solzhenitsyn, naturally invited the Inner Party Untouchable Dr. Bigby to lead a Forum on Leadership. After the 64 died. The victims’ families and others can see Neil Murthy’s spine chilling introduction here –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S29WlaH9coU – This is what Harvard Professors call “Accountable Care.”
All of the above travesties at the NHS actually happened very recently thanks to Sir Donald Berwick and his mindset. You owe it to your elderly loved ones to read the Francis Report. (http://www.midstaffspublicinquiry.com/report) If you think someone else is out there to protect them, remember retired State Police Colonel Thomas Foley said this after the belated partial conviction of James Bulger – “But you’d like to see processes put in place so it does not happen again.”
Think about that. He did not say ‘we now have processes in place so it does not happen again’. Tom is an honest policeman who knows Massachusetts all too well. And because this is a state drenched in corruption and routine conscious violation of due process much like East Europe before the Wall came down, Tom’s statement was met with deafening silence.
Medicare now has adopted the world of Sir Donald and everything that led directly to the Mid Staffs scandal. When Medicare, once popular with seniors just like the pre-Berwick NHS, is made unpleasant enough by Secretary Sebelius, Dr. Julian Harris and friends further implementing Sir Donald’s mindset, it can only help drive folks into the private market where other friends like Castlight and Venrock are happily waiting.
Just like our safe pensions became ‘It’s Your Retirement Money! Take Control!’ we will be told – “It’s Your Healthcare Money! Take Control!” – most likely in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine, present right at Harvard.
In 2008 Judith Warner wrote – “But now, the world of Wall Street has become our world; there is no outside to it, there is no other option than to pay and play. Our fortunes rise and fall together to a degree like never before, and our values are enmeshed like never before. The language of Wall Street — of cost cutting and efficiency, self-interest, using each situation to maximize profit, is the language of everyday life and social interaction. We’re all losers now.“
Welcome to Sir Donald Berwick’s world, a world peopled by the likes of Leape, Sir David, Bor, Gawande, Harris and Stout, a world that even The Daily Mail finds squalid.
You will pray to God to take you soon.