18 March 2006


Sicko is the title of Michael Moore's next movie. You remember Michael Moore - his many films include "Roger & Me" in 1989 about General Motors, "Bowling for Columbine" which won an Oscar in 2003, and then "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004 about the Bush administration's reaction to 9/11.

He posted a letter on his website last month headlined "Send me your health-care horror stories." A few excerpts:

"How would you like to be in my next movie? I know you've probably heard I'm making a documentary about the health care industry..."

"Ok, here's your chance. As you can imagine, we've got the goods on these bastards. All we need now is to put a few of you in the movie and let the world see what the greatest country ever in the history of the universe does to its own people, simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick. Because getting sick, unless you are rich, is a crime – a crime for which you must pay, sometimes with your own life. "

"I am looking for a few heroes with a conscience. I know you are out there."

You can send your story to him at michael@michaelmoore.com . It will be interesting to see which stories he selects for his movie. Any hospital CEO who's seen "Roger & Me" will be hoping it's not any of his patients in the movie.

17 March 2006

Do Blogs Make a Difference?

"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. " Thomas Paine

A lot of people probably think this blog is nothing more than a father venting about the series of errors committed regarding his child's healthcare. But be aware that this blog led to Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, developing interest in Hunter's case. That, in turn, led to Rep. Tom Campbell requesting that I testify before the State Senate Committee. That led to coverage by The Olympian newspaper. And all of those things are now a permanent part of the collective knowledge online, available 24 hours a day, worldwide.

Similarly, this week I wrote in my other blog an item about executive pay, which was seen by Bloomberg, whose reporter wrote an article on a completely different executive pay story, which was then picked up by the Los Angeles Times and dozens of other national publications and read by millions of people this week. Those comments are now a permanent part of the collective knowledge online, available 24 hours a day, worldwide.

Traditional media, politicians, and executives are realizing that power is returning to the citizens, just like the Founding Fathers intended. Those sitting in cozy offices thinking that their connections, political contributions, lobbying activities and wealthy fundraising friends are going to insulate them from these annoying little blogs - well, they're in for a very big surprise.

She's Baa-aack

I forgot to mention that Hunter was back in Seattle Children's Hospital this week as an inpatient - twice. She still has not recovered from all of the damage suffered from the series of infections she had from her last visit there. She had surgery today to implant a feeding tube as she is still unable to eat, still vomits almost hourly, and has gained no weight. She went in Monday but couldn't be scheduled for surgery until Friday, so came home Wednesday and was readmitted Friday morning.

You can imagine our apprehension as the last time she was in for a 3-day stay she became the 57-day infection case. I think everyone concerned is hoping that doesn't happen again but my wife is still onsite 24/7 to make sure people wash their hands, use Purell, don't re-use things dropped on the floor, administer the correct dose of the correct medications on time - you know, all those things that we parents are required to do as a part of our job description because some employees haven't read theirs nor have their supervisors.

The Fight Continues

As you probably know, the infection reporting bill did not make it out of the Legislature this year. We'll try again next year. No doubt the hospital industry will continue spending money on lobbying the legislature to vote down a requirement to report their infection rate. It seems to me that money could be spent on improving infection control in the hospital and then they wouldn't be concerned about reporting their infection rate. I wonder how hospitals justify diverting money to special interest lobbyists when that money should be spent on the children? I thought the concept was to "eliminate disease in children" not "eliminate evidence of disease hospitals cause in children." Maybe I misinterpreted.

They're clever about it too - hospitals wouldn't want a paper trail from hospital to lobbyist, so their money goes to industry associations that then hire the lobbyists. Even then, numerous hospitals did have staff members present to testify in Olympia against the infection reporting bill. Gee, if they are so cost-pressured and short-staffed, how can they afford to employ a person who hangs out all day at the Capitol? I'd like to know how the children benefitted from that.

You can see Hunter's personal testimonial at:


We are fortunate to have so many people helping her fight for her rights until she can speak up for herself.