Dr. James Karlson
An orthopedic surgeon at the New England Baptist Hospital,
and business partner of Dr. Arnold Scheller, the Boston Celtics
team physician. Scheller is the 800-pound gorilla of this story.
Karlson was assigned to my case, and was apparently prejudiced
against me from the beginning. He assaulted me physically, even
though I had a broken neck, back, leg, elbow, and face, when
I refused his order to remove my neck brace. When I subsequently
refused to allow him to operate on me, he retaliated against
me by ordering the removal of my bladder catheter, by preventing
me from seeing my own EENT (Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat doctor)
to be evaluated for emergency facial reconstruction surgery,
and by trying to have me discharged to home. I also believe that
he slandered me to other doctors at the Baptist to prevent me
from obtaining the emergency surgery I needed on my elbow. During
the three days I was his patient, he never examined me, even
though I was a head-injured air ambulance transfer from an Intensive
Physicians Assistant to Drs. Karlson, Scheller, and Curtis.
Presented to myself and my husband as a physican. Examined me
upon my arrival at NEBH. Referred to by staffers as "Dr.
Minos," possibly to conceal the fact that in the six days
I spent at the Baptist, and despite numerous serious medical
problems, the first time an attending physician actually examined
me was Wednesday evening, minutes before I was discharged from
Dr. Frederick Basilico
Cardiologist at New England Baptist Hospital, and, at that time,
chair of the Department of Cardiology. I knew him from having
received a medical clearance from him for orthopedic surgery
at the Baptist earlier in 1998. The hospital staff apparently
called him from Idaho when I started throwing off cardiac arrythmias
in the ER, and he was apparently, though unknown to me, involved
in my transfer to the Baptist. When Dr. Karlson's repeated attacks
on me forced us to beg the hospital staff to take Dr. Karlson
off my case, a nursing supervisor, over my objections, assigned
Dr. Basilico as my new attending physician.
Dr. Basilico became enraged at the work that was required
in obtaining care for me, (see the complaint I made to the Board of Registration
in Medicine on the Fascinating Documents page and Abused at the Baptist:
A Chronology) abandoned me, screamed at me, threatened me, and fabricated
examination records and other statements in my medical record (see the
Chronology: Tuesday). I also believe that he made outgoing phone calls
to two other hospitals to prevent me from getting care there. He verbally
abused my husband and detained him as he was on his way to Newton-Wellesley
to find a surgeon for me, and witheld the administrative and medical assistance
that was needed to get me transferred to another facility. While I was
his patient, my pain medication was withheld. He claimed in my medical
records to have performed examinations on me, but other than listening
to my heart briefly on Saturday, he did not examine me at all until Wednesday
evening, right before I was finally able to escape the hospital. This
symbol is a Basilisk, a mythological creature with the body of a serpent
and the head of a chicken. In some tales, it has Medusa-like powers: the
glare of the Basilisk can turn a person to stone.
Rev. Ken Larsen
Chaplain and psychologist at NEBH. I asked for a consultation
with him when things fell apart with my medical care over the
weekend. Not only did he not help me, but he also gloatingly
told me off, blamed me for the abuse I was experiencing, and
slandered me in his "consultation notes". I have since
discovered that he was financially connected to the physicians
of ProSports Orthopedics. His symbol is a Roach Motel, and not
just because he treated me as if I was a bug, but also because
"Patients check in, but they don't check out. . . ."
Dr. Stephen Parazin
Friendly spine surgeon from New England Baptist Hospital. When
I panicked on Sunday afternoon about being discharged to home,
Dr. Parazin was the one the nurses called. When we had to fire
Dr. Karlson, he was one of the people we asked for my case to
be assigned to. The nursing supervisor refused to even contact
Dr. Louis Jenis
Friendly spine surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital. Senior to
Dr. Parazin. When we had to get rid of Dr. Karlson, Dr. Jenis
was one of the doctors we asked for me to be assigned to. The
nursing supervisor refused to even contact him, although, since
I was a patient with a broken back and neck, he was a logical
Dr. Bruce Suzuki
EENT with admitting privileges at the Baptist. Dr. Karlson substituted
him for my own EENT, rewriting my medical orders to do so. My
own EENT, Dr. Douglas Bell, whom my husband had contacted from
Idaho and who was expecting to see me that weekend, had full
admitting privileges at NEBH.
Dr. Macie Finklestein
Opthamologist consulting at the Baptist. On Monday, when I had
fainting spells in bed right in front of her, while trying to
have the eye exam, she entered the fainting incident into my
medical record as a "refusal of care."
Dr. Frank Bunch
Orthopedist at NEBH with a good reputation. Refused to do my
surgery, or even look at my X-rays, but somehow made time to
make a CYA** visit to my room Monday afternoon.
I found out later that he had performed a complete
wrong-limb surgery on one of my therapists other patients,
then intimidated that patient out of suing for damages. As far
as I can tell, as late as 1998, NEBH still did not have in place
what are called Universal Precautions for preventing wrong-limb
surgeries. For example, hospital employees did not mark my shoulder
when I had surgery earlier in 1998. These protocols were in full
effect at every other hospital I have been in.
Dr. Henry Toczylowski
One of the two most senior hand and upper extremity surgeons
at NEBH, the specialty that typically performs elbow surgery.
One of the two or three guys at NEBH most qualified to perform
the emergency surgery I needed. Refused to do my surgery , or
even look at my X-rays, but nonetheless had the time to make
a CYA visit to my room Monday afternoon.
Dr. Andrew Terrono
Very senior surgeon in the Baptists "Hand and Upper
Extremity Service". Recommended by several other doctors
who had refused to help me. At a real hospital, making sure that
my emergency elbow surgery was performed before I was discharged
would have been the responsibility of the doctors in the Hand
and Upper Extremity Service, but because the Baptist is a "private
referral" hospital, they apparently felt quite comfortable
doing nothing for me at all. Qualified to do my emergency elbow
surgery, but refused to do so, or even to look at my X-rays,
but, like his colleagues, made time to make a CYA visit to my
room on Monday afternoon.
Dr. Aman Sabra
Friendly neurologist who worked at the Baptist during the week.
When called by nursing staff on Tuesday after we repeatedly begged
to see a neurologist about the fainting spells in bed and the
alarming decline in my neurological condition, eventually visited
me, but other than suggesting moving some of the objects in the
room, did nothing for me.
Dr. Alan Curtis
My charming but virtually unreachable shoulder surgeon at the
Baptist. I had written a warm and friendly letter to him asking
for a referral to another doctor because I was consistently having
such trouble reaching him (see Fascinating Documents), right
before the accident. I never received a response, but I believe
that, even though Dr. Curtis was supposedly "on vacation"
during the entire month of August, he not only received the letter,
but also allowed the dissemination of its contents. It ultimately
became clear to me that most people on staff at the hospital
knew about the letter even before I arrived there, and the fact
that I had, very politely and confidentially, asked to be referred
out turned into a virulent and widespread rumor that I had "fired
Dr. Alan Curtis." I believe that this rumor formed the core
of bad feeling towards me that attended my arrival, and ultimately
became the justification for the institutionalized abuse I received
while I was a bedridden, head-injured multiple-trauma patient
with a broken neck. I had no idea at the time that the New England
Baptist Hospital had such a small staff, or how unethical and
gossip-driven it was.
Dr. Alan Curtis failed to return two desperate
phone calls that my husband made to his office from my bedside
in the ICU in Idaho, asking for advice -- he was on vacation
for the month of August. Eventually he made his own CYA visit
to me, the afternoon of the day I left for Spaulding Rehab. During
that visit he made it clear to me that he knew all about my circumstances:
that I desperately needed surgery but could find no one to perform
it. He made no offers of assistance to me then, or at any time
while I was at the Baptist, even though I had been his patient
for about two years, had followed all of his instructions to
the letter while I was his patient, and had paid him thousands
of dollars in fees for surgery and office visits. Dr. Frederick
Basilico was later to claim, under oath, that I had refused an
elbow surgery offer from Dr. Curtis.
I believe that Dr. Basilico would never have
made such a claim unless he believed Alan Curtis would back up
his story in court, if necessary. (see The Iron Triangle).
When I called Dr. Curtis office earlier
this year, after I had the medical malpractice suit dismissed,
to hear his side of the story about what his role really was,
he never returned my phone call. I can hardly say that I was
surprised: he barely returned my phone calls when I was his patient.
Case Manager Karen O'Keefe
Im going to let my husband describe her for you. When we
were talking all of this over a few months later, trying to figure
out how all of this happened, he said, and I quote: "Its
women like her who made the Nazi empire run so efficiently."
See Abused at the Baptist: A Chronology, Monday for details.
Orthopedics Case Manager Nancy Sevier
This woman was completely out to lunch. She would no more have
been willing to go against the wishes of the physicians at ProSports
Orthopedics than she could have grown wings and flown away.
Various Nurses and Assorted Attendants
The nurses were the only group of people at the Baptist who were
friendly, professional and appropriate with me at all times.
They knew exactly what was being done to me and why, the entire
time I was at the Baptist. They tried to help me when they could,
but there wasnt much they could do. I made sure none of
them would be blamed for what had happened by leaving a note
behind in my medical records, and making sure they knew about
it. They knew exactly what I was doing when I dictated it to
Dr. Bruce Rivkin*
Utterly adorable neurologist from Brigham and Womens hospital
-- jobbed in at the Baptist on weekends to keep his skills
sharp. Was friendly and helpful to me, did his best to
help bail me out of an increasingly ugly situation. Protected
me from Dr. Karlson Saturday morning in the X-ray room. (see
Abused at the Baptist: A Chronology) Wore a special neurologists
costume to the hospital just to reassure the patients.
Dr. Nathan Schweitzer*
Kind, friendly, enthusiastic orthopedist from Newton-Wellesley
Hospital. A deeply talented surgeon, he could draw a picture
of my elbow fracture freehand without even looking at it himself.
Took me in as his patient, even after the folks at the Baptist
had manipulated me into refusing him once.
Key to Symbols
This symbol is used to indicate places in the story where
I believe my Massachusetts State Patient Rights were violated.
This symbol is used to indicate places in the story where
I believe JCAHO Rules and Standards for 1998 were violated.
* This asterisk is used to denote a pseudonym,
to protect the privacy of innocent people who do not work at
New England Baptist Hospital.