Dr. Keith Blair

La Mesa

Dr. Keith Blair  was a retired dentist  having practiced for over 50 years in San Diego.  He was the President of the San Diego Dental Society and he was the editor of the San Diego Bulletin, the  California Dental Association monthly journal,  and  the magazine for the International College of Dentists. 

Devoted to  his patients, he listed his home phone number in the phone directory  making  himself available to his patients at all hours.  If  a patient  called him at 10:00 pm with a toothache,  he would meet his patient at his office  that  night  to put them at ease.  He  considered dentistry  his calling. 

An avid reader of the news, he would write editorials on dentistry.   Having been called upon to fix bad dental work, he would testify in court on behalf of patients.   He had the utmost respect for medical professionals.  If he had an appointment with a doctor, it was called a consultation.   So, it  was even more of a betrayal that he would be harmed in a system that he  devoted his life  to, and after having  committed much of his practice to the safety of his patients. 

At 79, Dr. Blair chose to  retire  to be by his wife’s side through her battle with  breast cancer.   Following his wife’s death,  he lived  on his own for five years  and  was very  independent.  In time, he moved in with his daughter. 

Dr. Blair  took care of himself,  saw his general doctor regularly,  and  knew he had to speak  to his doctor  when he started having trouble with  severe back pain. 

His doctor recommended  a  hospital  stay  for testing.   Thinking he was only going to be in the hospital for a few days, Dr. Blair was admitted.  What should have been a brief hospital stay turned into a nightmare. 

Without informing his family, Dr. Blair was placed on a powerful cocktail of anti psychotics like Risperdal and Haldol that caused a sudden mental decline. 

When his family could not awaken him and found him unresponsive, they sought answers  from his doctor.   The  doctor  said that he  had developed sudden onset Alzheimer’s  Disease, and moved him to a nursing home.   

While at the nursing home, he was given more drugs without consent.  There he fell seven times, suddenly became diabetic, and acquired a MRSA infection.  His decline was rapid.  After the last fall, his family was told that his heart and his kidneys were failing.  He passed away just a few weeks later. 

After his death, his family obtained his medical records.   They  discovered that his consent  forms were falsified,  including a do not resuscitate order  Dr. Blair had never signed.  His back pain turned out to be spinal stenosis a condition that can be  easily  treated with over the counter medication.  At his funeral, his family vowed to seek answers. 

They learned of California’s outdated compensation cap when they  sought  the advice of an attorney.  They were told by multiple attorneys that they had a  case,  but it was not worth much due to their father’s age and retirement status.   They were forced into arbitration by the nursing home.  Once in arbitration, an attorney dropped  any further legal action  because,  due to the cap,  their options were limited. 

When his daughter filed a complaint to the Medical Board of California, the Medical Board investigator told her the doctor would definitely face an accusation of wrongdoing brought by the Board. However, the Board negotiated a settlement with the doctor without her knowledge under which he received only a public letter of reprimand. It took 18 months to get the letter, but the Medical Board didn’t post it for another year and a half because they were waiting for the doctor to take the agreed upon classes. Usually, the classes are required to be taken within 6 months of the decision. It was a “very pitiful” public letter of reprimand, according to Dr. Blair’s daughter, and didn’t begin to address what they had done to her father.  Instead of including the drugging and falsifications, the letter just stated there were medical record keeping issues, along with giving her father a diabetic drug even though he didn’t have diabetes. 

As a health care professional, Dr. Blair gave hours of free care to priests and nuns.  He gave his time to the Nazareth House, a boarding school for foster children, where he would provide free care to the at-risk children who resided there.   His  passion was health care and  providing the best possible care to his patients.  Yet, he was not given the best possible care in his time of need and became a victim of medical negligence. 

Dr. Blair’s daughter is fighting so that no other family has to go through what hers did. 

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