Husband Bleeds to Death in HMO, Wife Forced to Settle in Arbitration

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® Patient’s Medical History: "My husband, Dwight Lobb, entered his HMO hospital for surgery. Dwight had researched this procedure thoroughly by reading all the written material available to him, interviewing people who had had this surgery and talking to the HMO surgeon and therapists. Feeling well and confident about the surgery, he proceeded.

The surgery was performed successfully according to the HMO operating room records. After the surgery, Dwight lay unattended, neglected and forgotten at the HMO hospital, and quietly bled to death.

In spite of deteriorating vital signs and complaints of severe pain and abdominal spasms, no HMO physician was called in. Nursing cut-backs on the floor, due to corporate cost-cutting, prevented a nurse from even checking on Dwight. At the most critical time, after Dwight had complained of excrutiating pain, he went unmonitored for over an hour and a half. When Dwight finally was checked, he was dead. In less than five hours after leaving the recovery room from a routine elective surgery, my husband died from internal hemorrhaging.

Later, upon review of my husband’s charts, it was easy to see that he had died simply from neglect. For whatever the reason, Dwight was not monitored or checked on properly. He died silently and alone, unable to help himself. We put our full and complete trust in our HMO. They promised quality health care. They sent me home after Dwight’s surgery, promising to take care of him. They did not."

SAN DIEGO, CA- "Since that time, I have been involved in the arbitration process with my husband’s HMO. You are bound by arbitration as part of your membership agreement with the HMO, should a problem arise. This, in itself, is a scam. You must retain an expensive attorney to have any chance of even getting through this process, when facing the powerful HMO attorneys. Then they wear you down through delay after delay.

In my particular case, the HMO attorneys called for a settlement conference before even one deposition was taken. By this time, I was concerned about my mental and physical health and going through another year of this anguish. I was under endless financial scrutiny by the HMO attorneys since we were self employed, and faced an additional forty to fifty thousand dollars in legal fees to try and recover compensation for our loss. While it was my decision, I felt extremely pressured and threatened by the HMO’s powerfully manipulative arbitration system, so I settled.

The saddest part of this entire HMO arbitration process was the coldness. The HMO did not care how much I and my family had suffered. They didn’t care that a human life was lost because the company didn’t staff enough nurses on the floor to even go into Dwight’s room. The HMO was only concerned about how much it would cost them to dispose of this matter and they wanted to do it as cheaply as possible.

My family and I were not fully compensated for our loss. I lost my husband, lover, business partner and best friend. My children lost the best father in the world and my mother-in-law lost her sweet son."

— Dwight Lobb’s story is reported by his wife, Suzanne Lobb.

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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