Child Dies After Turned Away From HMO Hospital, Family Reports Biased Arbitration

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® Patient’s Medical History: "This case involved the death of our grandson. We presented all of the evidence along with expert witnesses which testified that the HMO doctor fell below the standard of care, causing the death of our 2 month old grandson. The coroner who performed the autopsy on the baby also testified and the autopsy report revealed that the baby died of dehydration due to acute electrolyte imbalance.

Our expert witnesses testified to the fact that when my daughter brought the baby in to see the HMO doctor he was dehydrated with sucken eyes. My daughter kept bringing this to the doctors’ and nurses’ attention, but they sent her home with Pedialyte and said the baby had the stomach flu and would be fine. Eight hours later the baby was dead!"

ANAHEIM, CA- "From the very beginning we felt that the arbitrators were bias towards us, perhaps because we are Mexican American.

Another thing that upset me was that one of the times, as my daughter was being questioned, I looked up and the arbitrator was sitting there with his eyes closed like he was dosing off! Now that tells me that our case was not important to them and they came to this arbitration with their decision made from day one. We never had a chance, we went in there with a lost case.

According to the decision, the arbitrator stated that we did not prove that the HMO doctor fell below the standard of care. There has got to be a better explanation as to why the arbitrator felt that we did not prove that! If autopsy reports serve no purpose, then why was our grandson cut-up and all his little organs stuffed in his chest? All the baby needed was to have been hospitalized and an IV started and he would be here today.

What makes the justice system believe that the decision of three persons in an arbitration is fair and honest [when two are paid by the HMO]. We live in America and I believe that there has to be some entity out there that can investigate and oversee this type of system when the parties feel that something went terribly wrong in the case.

If only there was something more that we could do to overturn such an unjust decision, even though they say it was a binding arbitration. These binding arbitrations are just a way for HMO’s to escape an appeal when everything is so black and white.

I’m sure that most of the members that have joined an HMO don’t realize that they have given up the right to a trial before a judge and jury, in case they might need it like we did. This was injustice!!!"

— Joseph Calderon’s grandmother, Hope Martinez, reports his story.

FTCR will continue to fax daily a story of HMO Arbitration Abuse to educate the public on the need for reform. AB 1751 (Kuehl) makes HMO binding arbitration voluntary rather than mandatory.

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