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Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
When Pat Parker sorted through the mail she threw the envelope from Blue Cross on the pile with the other bills to be paid, without opening it right away. That's what she always did: After all, the amount never varied, and Pat had an efficient system for making sure she and her husband Dave paid what they owed. What Pat didn't realize when this...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
There is a lot wrong with the medical system in California these days - skyrocketing premiums, a lesser level of care, lack of accountability. Pat Pawlak has fallen prey to one of its most bizarre characteristics, a phenomenon she calls "the creep factor." Pat is dissatisfied with her agent, and has been for some time. The problem:...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Kathy Locke, like so many other self-employed small business people, is feeling the pinch. She has run a successful small advertising business in Novato for 20 years. It is a labor of love, with Kathy's hours definitely not 9 to 5. Her husband is also self-employed, a contractor. Kathy and her husband have always taken care of their own health...
Archived Article
3/1/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Jessie Geyer - Antioch, CA A few days before Halloween 7-year-old Jessie Geyer began to feel lousy. She had a high fever and severe leg pain. It was bad enough feeling sick, but the second grader worried that she might have to miss out on the Halloween parade at her school, as well as trick or treating. Her illness worsened and she realized she...
Archived Article
2/28/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Janet Mitchell - Orange, CA One day in the early 1990s, Janet Mitchell's doctor took her aside and told her that the doctor who had operated on her leg 15 years earlier had botched the job, and that mistake was responsible for the years of suffering that followed. The doctor who spilled the beans knew what he was talking about; he had been...
Archived Article
6/9/2003
Consumer Watchdog
Cynthia Smith - Concord, California Cynthia Smith always had been active, despite having multiple sclerosis most of her life. She grew up in Vermont, where she ice skated and joined in all the other outdoor activities that people do in cold climes. As an adult, she remained vigorous, training horses among other things. Now, at 58, Cynthia sits in...
Archived Article
5/19/2003
Consumer Watchdog
John Enzenauer - El Sobrante, California Just before Christmas two years ago, John Enzenauer, 39, came home from his blue-collar job feeling lousy. He didn't worry much about it: Just a mild case of the flu, he figured. Two days after Christmas, he was dead, leaving this life in the middle of the night while the Christmas wrapping still lay strewn...
Archived Article
5/10/2003
Consumer Watchdog
Bobbie Jenke - Santa Rosa, California Five years ago, Bobbie Jenke was full of life, an active Santa Rosa special education teacher who regularly went to her students' homes, and on her own time participated in Sierra Club activities. Today Bobbie, 45, is housebound, her ailments getting worse day by day. "A good day is when I can walk two...
Archived Article
5/9/2003
Consumer Watchdog
Gary Rushford - San Jose, California The pain began in Gary Rushford's foot and slowly slithered up to his heel, then his calf and then his thigh. It moved with all the deliberate relentlessness of a python closing in on a cornered rabbit, and it was every bit as predictable. Yet for months doctor after doctor downplayed the pain, disregarded the...
Archived Article
4/2/2003
Consumer Watchdog
Harry Jordan - Long Beach, California As told by Harry Jordan: I was brought into surgery at Long Beach Hospital (where I was a Board Trustee) in late 1982 when x-rays revealed that my right kidney was cancerous. Unfortunately, the surgeons involved removed the wrong kidney. They took out the normal one. I then was transferred to UCLA Medical...