® Patient’s Medical History: Marion Bradshaw’s twin sister, Marie Lowder, died of breast cancer after her HMO delayed and denied her treatment. Marion and her sister’s husband, Brent Lowder, decided to file a lawsuit against the HMO over Marie’s care, only to find out that Marie had unknowingly signed away her right to trial through a mandatory, binding arbitration clause in her HMO enrollment contract.
COOL, CA- "I am in a bind regarding the arbitration with my deceased twin sister’s HMO over her care. After 3 years of waiting and having my deposition taken, along with my brother-in-law’s, the HMO’s first attorney quit, delaying the hearing further while the HMO brought in a new attorney.
Now, the arbitrator has dismissed me from the case, leaving me with no where else to turn to. The HMO is saying I am not an heir, but there is no where in the arbitration clause that says I cannot be a family representative. In fact, I am the one who initially filed against the HMO for my brother-in-law.
I tried several times to speak with the arbitrator about my status in the hearing, but he never returned my calls. Finally, when there was a conference call regarding the status of case, I was in on the conversation and asked the arbitrator to give me some answers. The arbitrator refused to talk to me and now stated I could not even be a witness.
I feel this is because I also had breast cancer (the same condition as my twin) and had the same HMO for my care. Therefore, I know the ins and outs of my sister’s case and must pose a threat to the HMO’s claim that standard care was given my sister. I followed my sister’s care closely and the HMO only gave her minimal care. My sister and I were identical twins, yet the HMO refused to consider a possible bone marrow transplant from me even though I was healthy then.
Now, both the arbitrator and new HMO attorney will not even allow me as a witness. They will not even allow me to be at the hearings. I do have power of attorney for my brother-in-law, but the arbitrator and HMO representative refuse to acknowlege it.
My brother-in-law and I have even asked the arbitrator to dismiss himself because of these unethical practices. The arbitrator just states that we need to go to Superior Court to have any action taken.
I am getting very desperate now as it has been 4 years, this year, since we originally filed for arbitration and the HMO’s delays have taken a toll on me and my family, both emotionally and physically.
We now do not have an attorney becasue the one we had quit for personal reasons. We are left without an attorney because no other attorneys will take on the case since we are so far along.
Without being able to go to a jury trial, we are left to suffer in a system where the arbitrator and HMO can do as they please with no accountability. My brother-in-law and I have tried to do the right thing by my sister but the HMO and their attorneys have done nothing but threaten us, put words in our mouths, and laugh at us because we have no rights. My sister believed she was going to be okay, that is what they told her and I won’t get my life back until I can honestly feel the HMO is brought to justice for their irresponsible and unethical actions."
— Marion Bradshaw reports her twin sister’s 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.