Monday, April 4, 2016

Commentary: Another Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Horror Story

There are a number of people in the Santa Clarita Valley that think I have something against Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. I don’t. I am merely reporting facts from documents obtained through reliable sources and writing opinions that need to be heard in our community. Healthcare is an important topic and having access to excellent health care is an expectation in any community.

Recently, my 78 year old mother-in-law fell and fractured her sacrum, the base of her spine, and she was transported via ambulance to Henry Mayo. We had no choice. This is where a nightmarish six week ordeal begins. There was a surgery on her spine, then she caught influenza- B in the hospital, which weakened her immune system causing an infection to develop on the incision, a second and third surgery all as a result of the infection, and in between all this a horror show of mismanagement, miscommunications, and escalating costs.

It’s my view that Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital seems to have a disproportionately higher rate of infection. I’m sure management would argue they don’t but by all accounts my mother-in-law should not have gotten an infection since the surgery left a small two-plus-inch incision. Yet, an infection she got that required multiple surgeries to clear up.

During the aforementioned there was a battery of test and scans that had to be performed. Just to get a scan, hospital staff had to wheel my mother-in-law on a gurney out of the hospital and across a parking lot to another building. Bumping and jostling her on the uneven payment along the way. This happened several times. Yes, Henry Mayo Hospital the Calcutta of the Santa Clarita Valley. 
According to a hospital case worker, my mother-in-law was lucky to have actually survived the ordeal altogether. I kid you not; the case worker essentially said that my mother-in-law must be stronger than she appears because she lived through the six weeks at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Yes, my mother-in-law ran the Grim Reaper’s gauntlet of death at our local hospital and survived; life was the prize, the brass ring from this medical facility circus. The case worker instilled in us a sense of confidence akin to a roll of the dice; a life or death lottery where the jackpot is survival.

With my mother-in-law still clinging to life, the facility unable to kill her, it was time for the hospital to discharge her and what better day to do it on than Easter Sunday, resurrection day. Let’s just make it even more difficult for everyone and jack the system for more money while they’re at it. The hospital gets to bill Medicare extra if a patient is discharged on a holiday; something that Medicare has taken note of. So rather than waiting until Monday morning they decided, admittedly,  it was best to throw her out on Easter Sunday afternoon. That’s the way to make another buck and stick to the man.

I certainly could go into lengthy, often unbelievable, detail on all that happened during that six week interment at Henry Mayo but to what end; she is still alive and recovering at another facility now. The bill for the hospital was in excess of $150,000.00 and it is riddled with interesting charges and items that appear excessive. It is just another example of the business of healthcare; profits over life and health.

There are many inconsistencies when it comes to our local hospital in delivering on quality care that we all expect. Some local supporters have said to me it is the only hospital we have in SCV and I should stop knocking it. But these same supporters will not go to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial hospital for care or a surgery. In fact, a number of hospital donors have gone down to major medical facility in LA rather than do their surgery at Henry Mayo. That’s a real confidence builder.

I’ve written in the past of a woman entering the emergency room with chest pains. She was homeless and had no insurance. Checked out by the emergency room staff and then discharged, the woman went into the emergency room waiting area sat down in a chair and died quietly. Her cold, dead body was not discovered for seven or eight hours. This is just one of a myriad of horror stories at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. You can read more at:
The doctors and nurses at Henry Mayo are terrific and should be praised for their dedication. But they are also hampered by how the facility is being managed. It appears to be more about the almighty dollar and less about patient’s best interests. This is especially true of the elderly. There are numerous stories of elderly patients going in for simple procedures and ending up dying.

There is a disconnect between the administration, doctors, and patients which needs to be corrected. The only way that can happen at this point is to bring in a new administrator, someone that can start fresh and bridge the deficiencies in quality health care at the hospital. It must be someone that isn’t going to stack the board of directors or medical advisory committee with individuals that are lining their own pockets and turning a blind eye to the serious issues that play out each day at this hospital.

I truly want our Santa Clarita Valley community to have a great hospital facility. Unfortunately, we don’t have one and to change that will require members of the community, such as me, to continue speaking up and illuminating the issues. Our valley communities disserve an excellent hospital that provides outstanding health care and we shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Dave Bossert- Commentary

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on a number of boards and councils. He is an award-winning artist, filmmaker and author of several books. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of the Westside Reader. Bossert writes a weekly column at