Letter from another mother whose child was infected with AIDS
Ronald L. Wise
Vice-President, Public Relations
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Plaza Level Room 2429
8700 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90049
Re: Phyllis M. Cole adv. Galicia, Inc.
dba Progressive Management System.
L. A. M. C . Case No. 93K30004
Dear Mr. Lilac:
This letter is written in accordance with your request, following our telephone conversation of about four weeks ago regarding the above-referenced lawsuit. As I write this letter, I'm trying to contain my anger and simply provide you with a number of reasons why I believe Cedars-Sinai should dismiss this lawsuit and zero-out any balance which may be owed by me.
On March 25, 1982, my first child, Chavela J. Cole, was born at Cedars-Sinai. She was about six weeks premature and weighed two pounds, one ounce at birth. Immediately following her birth she was placed in the neo-natal intensive care unit on a respirator. During the first month of her life, she was transfused on approximately 19 separate occasions with AlDS-tainted blood. Each of these transfusions was done without any prior knowledge or consent on my part.
Chavela spent the next eight months of her life in the neo-natal section of Cedars-Sinai. Following her release in October of 1982 and until the present time she has suffered a variety of illnesses and health problems.
In February of 1987 I was contacted by Cedars-Sinai and asked to bring Chavela to a Dr. Monday's office at Cedars for what was described as a follow-up on the development of children who had been treated at the neo-natal unit of Cedars around the time of Chavela's birth. I was specifically told not to bring any other adult with me.
When I arrived in Dr. Monday's office, with my daughter, I was asked some general questions about Chavela's health history and development. Then, while Dr, Monday's assistant took Chavela to another location in the same room, Dr. Monday abruptly informed me that at least one of the persons who had donated blood which was given to Chavela had recently died of AIDS. I was stunned and my daughter, watching from across the room, knew immediately that something was very wrong.
With no time for recovery or discussion, Dr. Monday informed me that he would need to take a sample of Chavela's blood for testing. In the next breath, again without pause, he told me that Cedars wished to conduct a study of the children who were similarly infected at Cedars and proceeded to shove a lengthy consent form in my hands with a request that I sign immediately. I was also told not to inform anyone of this meeting or the possible findings, as family and friends would not understand.
I agreed to the blood test but I refused to sign the consent form and, in addition, insisted, over the objections of Dr. Monday and his assistants, that I be allowed to immediately call some friends who would meet me at Cedars and could offer the support so sorely lacking from Dr. Monday and his assistants.
I was informed, by Dr. Monday, one week later that Chavela's blood had tested positive for the HIV virus.
I had a number of discussions with friends and physicians about my daughter's diagnosis and was advised to take her to Childrens Hospital and specifically to Dr. Joseph Church at Childrens. Chavela has been under his care for the past six years.
Earlier this year I received a letter from Cedars-Sinai indicating that you might be willing to assist in the cost of Chavela's care providing we cease all treatment and care and relinquish all professional relationships at Childrens. This offer is no offer at all. After having established the most wonderful medical and personal relationships possible (under the circumstances), after six years of truly life-saving care, and with no regard for Chavela's relationship with Dr. Church and all the ramifications it holds for her well being, you demand that we start from square one with total strangers in an environment that, by this very request, signals its insensitivity.
I have struggled for years to pay for her treatment and the drugs necessary for her health. Last week I was informed by Dr. Church that Chavela's T-cell count was 33, and she has been placed on extremely heavy doses of a new, highly toxic medication. Her health is now in such a state that she will require regular, daily monitoring of her condition, and I shall have to be at home with her much more than ever before. As a consequence, I shall probably be forced to give up my employment to care for her. Which brings me to the current problem I am having with Cedars-Sinai.
In May of 1991 I became pregnant again. At the time, I was employed at a location just a few blocks away from Cedars-Sinai Hospital. I was putting in long hours and frequently worked 6 days a week. Because of my abhorrence at the treatment of my first child at the hands of the personnel at Cedars-Sinai Hospital I never wanted to go near that hospital again. There were, however, some practical considerations which I was forced to confront. my physician has privileges at Cedars and I did not want to begin a new relationship with a total stranger. Secondly, the physical location of my work,
coupled with the demands on my time made it imperative for me to obtain prenatal care in the most expeditious manner possible. Consequently, my twins were delivered At Cedars on January 2 of 1992.
Following their birth, I received my first communication from Cedars regarding
money in May of 1992. The statement specifically indicated "This is a Statement, Not a Bill". I assumed that this was a copy of a document which was being forwarded to my insurance company. I heard nothing further until September of 1992, at which time I was contacted by the Billing office at Cedars and advised of the balance. I asked about making payment arrangements and I was told that a credit application would be sent. I completed the application and was thereafter informed that my application had been denied. When I called the Billing Office to discuss the matter further, I was told, simply, that payment in full was required.
Following this conversation, I never received a billing statement from Cedars. Then, on August 26, 1993, I was served with a Summons and Complaint for damages in the amount of $988.
It has not been my intention to write a complete history of the last 11 years rather, I have tried to portray the pain and difficulty, physical, emotional and financial with which my child and I have lived since March 25, 1982. It is more than warranted, under all the circumstances recited above, that Cedars-Sinai dismiss the lawsuit which has been filed against me and zero out
the balance in my account. The attorney representing the hospital is Michael Roberts. He can be reached at 818-282-5167.
Phyllis M. Cole
Telecom Communications Center
555 Norwich Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90048
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