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What Kind of Hospital Does Sutter Health Really Want to Build?
by Lee White (leewhite1 [at]
Thursday Apr 9th, 2009 2:52 PM
The San Francisco Business Times reports that Dr. Martin Brotman is stepping down as CEO of California Pacific Medical Center. Brotman plans to devote more time to CPMC’s massive plan to build a new hospital at Geary and Van Ness. But what kind of hospital does Dr. Brotman really want to build?

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On April 8, my wife, Sherri, and I found out. Sherri is a registered nurse who worked at CPMC until 2007 when multiple sclerosis rendered her disabled. When she needed a new primary care physician, she made an appointment with one of
Brotman’s medical practice partners.

As part of the new patient paperwork, Sherri received a medical malpractice arbitration agreement form. Had she signed it,
Sherri would have given up her right to sue her doctor for malpractice and to have her case heard by a jury of her peers. Any claim would have had to have been submitted to an arbitrator of the malpractice insurer’s choosing.

Sherri didn’t sign. She asked to speak with an attorney first. That’s when the doctor, May Yau, refused to treat her.

If Sherri had been a criminal suspect arrested by the San Francisco Police Department, she would have had the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney. She would have had the right to a jury trial, too. But as a patient in the same office where Dr. Brotman practices medicine, Sherri had no legal rights at all.

Dr. Brotman wants to build a fancy, new hospital. But if this is the kind of hospital he wants to build, San Francisco would be better off without it.