Q: This sounds so horrific. Can it really be true?
A: Yes, unfortunately, it is. The events and encounters described in this site were all, with the exception of one event as noted, witnessed, often by one or more people. They were also reported contemporaneously to others and documented by the recollections of my friends, my family, or, in some cases, my other doctors. My husband took some notes about what happened, as did my brother. These events are also documented by my own medical records from the Baptist. You'll see a symbol that looks like this (MR) to lead you to the appropriate medical record. It sounds too awful to be true, but it is true.
One thing I have learned from this experience is that the depths of human cruelty and viciousness don't just occur in places like Bosnia or Rwanda, or the Oklahoma City bombing -- they can show up anywhere that people feel they are above or outside the law, including the New England Baptist Hospital.
Q: Why didn't you just leave?
A: Ah, the same question women who are trapped in abusive relationships are always asked, if they survive. I had a better reason than most -- I literally could not survive outside a hospital environment. I needed supplemental oxygen at night to help me breathe when the swelling in my throat from my neck fracture got worse. Without it, there was a risk that I could simply suffocate to death in my sleep. I could not walk more than a few steps without falling over or sit up reliably. I could not eat solid food because my teeth were all broken and loose from the impact and my throat opening was restricted from the swelling in my neck. In addition, I could not toilet myself because of the severity of my injuries. So, I needed a bladder catheter as well. Plus, I needed emergency surgery, both to my elbow, and, I was told in Idaho, to my face.
I tried to escape to Newton-Wellesley, but that attempt was frustrated by Dr. Basilico's intervention. Doctors and staff didn't give me the surgery and medical treatment I needed, but he was unwilling to let me go to another hospital to get it. As my attending physician, he possessed and used the power to prevent my transferring to another hospital. (see the complaint about Dr. Basilico in Fascinating Documents) That's how abusive relationships work. And I was trapped much more thoroughly than any suburban housewife. Take a look at the picture on the Fascinating Documents page and then ask yourself: Should it really have been this woman's job to fight off abusers and scramble to get medical care for herself?
Q: Isn't it wrong to falsify patient records and withold emergency surgery from patients who need it?
A: Yes, it is. But doctors can find ways to break the law and provide substandard medical care to patients with very low odds of being caught. One way in which they typically do this is what happened to me at the Baptist. First, the doctor witholds medical care or provides substandard care, then he alters or falsely reports items in the medical record to cover his tracks. That's one of the main reasons I eventually sued Dr. Basilico, Dr. Karlson, Rev. Larsen, and the hospital's administrators -- I wanted them to realize that they can't pull this kind of stuff routinely without at least being at risk of getting caught. Remember, when people have no ethics, they'll do anything if they think they can get away with it.
Q: I'm scheduled for surgery at the Baptist. Now I'm worried. What should I do?
A: I couldn't possibly advise you. The purpose of this web site is simply to get the real story out in public of how I was abused at New England Baptist Hospital when I accidentally angered a powerful physician, and how the staff and management of the Baptist responded when the abuse was reported to them. What you do with the information found in this web site is completely up to you. I can tell you that I would never again let any friend or family member have surgery or be hospitalized there -- what happens if they accidentally anger a powerful physician at the hospital? I don't want anyone else to go through what I did.
I can tell you that there are lots of places in Boston where you can get excellent, caring, orthopedic treatment in a setting where your patient rights will be respected and where money is not the entire bottom line. One of these places is Brigham and Women's Hospital, where several of their orthopedists won Boston Magazines Best of Boston award this year.
You can also try a top-notch community hospital like Newton-Wellesley. They have a white-hot anesthesia department there, and a group of terrific orthopedists. Also, they have the best patient rights policy I have ever seen, and they really implement it, too. The doctors and staff at Newton-Wellesley took me in after I had been thrown out of the Baptist without treatment, after I had been slandered to them by doctors at the Baptist, and when I was told that my elbow injury had aged so much that it was quite unlikely the surgery would have a good outcome. They took me in when I had already been turned down by close to a dozen other doctors, many of whom didn't want the liability, simply couldn't be bothered, or had already been contacted by my abusers. And after the surgery, the doctors and the staff really dug in to help me catch up for the delays that had occurred. The musician James Taylor had his hand surgery done there. Nuff said.