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Injured patients who want to help and be heard, click here.

 

Thomas Jefferson said that given the choice between government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he would choose to have newspapers.

In medicine we have government without newspapers. Patients cannot find out what they need to know to make informed choices. No one in medicine records or reports the information patients need to know the most. So patients will have to.

Dueter

Rough Draft / Under Construction

The average person does not understand that lying is not unusual for lawyers in court. The average lawyer in Cincinnati knows it is usual for Wiley. They hate having to go up against him in court because he lowers the bar so much. They don't want to have to go down to his level. The most positive thing Aaron ever heard another lawyer say about Wiley was, "He's a piece of work, isn't he?"

The average person also does not know that lawyers are obligated to correct lies told in court. If a lawyer like Dueter does not correct lies told by the opposing counsel, he can have his license suspended, but only if the client figures that out and figures out how to document it for the bar association and figures out how to make a compelling presentation of it to their grievance committee. If someone like Aaron manages to figure out how to do all that, even if it becomes clear that a lawyer like Dueter not only did not correct multiple misstatements of fact, and not only did not provide the obligatory energetic defense, but even went as far as to sabotage someone like Aaron, that does not change the verdict. That does not enable an appeal. That only puts the bar association in the position of being able to slap the wrists of the offending lawyer if it should be so inclined. Considering the amount of damage done to the client, making the punishment fit the crime is not part of the equation when lawyers are judging their own colleagues. Neither is making the victim whole.

So Dueter and Blacky did not have that much to lose - some income, some shine on their reputations, but probably not even that. Bar associations so rarely take action against lawyers. And for Aaron there was so little to gain. It was traumatic to have to review these examples of how evil people are in the name of their religions. Culling through the documents that told the story for the bar association actually was so traumatic for him that for the first time in his life he was dysfunctional.

They say that the worst kind of post traumatic stress there is is the kind that leaves you unable to trust anyone. His nurse had sexually abused him. His surgeon had assaulted him. His primary care physician had worked behind the scenes to make sure that he did not get treatment for the injuries. His wife was not going to condemn herself to share his fate and never have sex again and so she began cheating on him. Her social skills were not strong enough to hide it from him, so when he confronted her about it, she allied herself with the nurse and surgeon by trying to make him look crazy in order to cover her own sins. His personal lawyer, Blacky, had prevented him from doing what was necessary to prevent further suits against him and then prevented him from having access to that which was available to defend himself once he was sued. His insurance company's lawyer agreed in court with the lies Wiley told and refused to present the evidence that was right there in evidence to correct them. The police deputy who interrogated him as though he were the guilty party was not honest or even well-meaning, at one point making up an answer to a question he had not even asked Aaron and then reporting it to a superior officer as though he had. The state medical board proved to be even worse, assigning an investigator with no expertise in medicine to investigate a crime he was not qualified or authorized to investigate, and putting that investigator in a position in which doing a meaningful investigation only would make things worse for himself. The hospital refused to hear his complaint and refused to identify who the witnesses, his caregivers, were. The police refused to make the hospital obey the law that requires them to identify a patient's caregivers. His primary care physician refused to give him his records even though he was required to by law. The police refused to enforce that law too. The police refused to let Aaron file charges against HJ and then accepted her as an impartial witness as though she had not been the instigator of the whole debacle in the first place. It was a list that seemed to have no end, a list of people refusing to do their jobs, to enforce laws, to be honest, to do what's right, to help the victim rather than protect and enable predators. He really had not been able to trust anyone.

In court Wiley pointed his finger at Aaron and loudly demanded that "There never had been one single doctor who has recorded the story you made up."

In writing in court was the transcript of a doctor discussing the assault Aaron had described and verifying that his injuries were consistent the account of the assault he had told. Dueter had an obligation to correct Wiley's lie. Dueter had an obligation to point out the evidence. Aaron asked him to do it. But he would not do it.

Also in evidence were the x-rays and ultrasounds and arteriography and sonogram showing the injuries. Dueter never showed any of that to the jury. As far as that jury knew, Aaron had no actual injuries. In court Wiley asked Sales what the most likely cause was for sexual dysfunction in men. Sales said high cholesterol and clogged arteries. Dueter never said a word to point out to the jury in evidence was a diagnosis showing that Aaron had unusually low cholesterol. There was a diagnosis showing that there was no evidence of clogging arteries. And there was a diagnosis showing traumatic injuries. But the jury was left with the impression that clogged arteries were the problem.

When Sales was on the stand, Wiley asked him if he had examined Aaron. Sales said that both he and Dr. Jeercruz had examined Aaron and had been able to find no physical reason for his complaints. In actual fact Sales and Jeercruz never had done a test that could find the physical reasons for his complaints. Other doctors had asked them to do those tests, but they had never done them. Aaron had asked them to do the tests. When they didn't, Aaron had asked why not and finally began arguing with them that someone somewhere was preventing him from getting diagnoses. Eventually Aaron found witnesses who would testify that Jeercruz had called their office and told them not to treat Aaron. They were hostile witnesses, but they would give the testimony that would prove that Sales and Jeercruz did their best to make sure that his injuries were not diagnosed. Blacky and Dueter led Aaron to believe that he would have witnesses in court, but then brought none.

Aaron also had created a chart of all the medical appointments he had had. Every time either Sales or Jeercruz knew about the appointment, no relevant tests were given and no injuries were diagnosed. But every time Aaron went out of town without a referral, tests were given and injuries were diagnosed. The chart was in evidence. Aaron had wanted to enlarge it to put it on an easel to show the jury how the medical profession circles their wagons around their victims and destroys them. But Dueter refused to let him. Dueter refused to look at the chart himself. Aaron posted it on his web site where he assumed Dueter would have to see it when he checked that site, but he never looked at it. Sales was allowed to tell his lies without fear of being challenged. Aaron could not get Dueter to do anything to make the jury understand that the last thing Sales was was an impartial witness.

After the trial when Aaron asked Dueter what he had done to defend him, Dueter pointed out his "hallucination" defense. Dueter had said he had tried to persuade the jury that the drugs in the IV had caused him to hallucinate the abuse and the assault so that they would forgive him for his believing something that never happened.

Here is how well Dueter made that case. In his opening statement Dueter had set up that defense by telling the jury that in the hospital they had pumped Aaron up on Valium which ďcan make you blotto, if you know what I mean.Ē Later in the trial he asked the Anesthesiologist about it.

Deuter: How much valium did you pump into him?
Anesthesiologist: I didnít pump any into him.
Deuter: What do you mean?
Anesthesiologist: Thatís not my job.
Deuter: Arenít you the anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologist: No. Iím only a nurse anesthesthetist.
Deuter: Who was in charge of the anesthesthetics?

Aaron was not supposed to show emotion, but if anyone had looked at him they would have seen him aghast that his attorney had not done enough preparation even to know this. But then it got worse.

Anesthesiologist: I was in charge of them, but administering valium is not my job.
Deuter: Whose job was it?
Anesthesiologist: The preop nurses.
Deuter: How much valium did the preop nurses give him?
Anesthesiologist: I have no idea.
Deuter: Isnít it your job to know?
Anesthesiologist: It was a long time ago.
Deuter: Canít you look it up?
Anesthesiologist: I donít have those records in front of me.
Deuter: I believe we have those records in evidence. Werenít the medical records entered as part of the web site in evidence?

Dueter went back to his desk and rifled through papers until he found them. He took them back to the nurse anesthetist and had him look through them.

Deuter: How much Valium did they pump into him?
Anesthesiologist: Iím looking to see. But if they gave him any, they wouldnít have ďpumpedĒ it into him. Itís a pill given by mouth . . . According to these records, they didnít give any Valium to him.
Deuter: But it was a Valium base drug, wasnít it?
Anesthesiologist: No.
Deuter: But it was similar to Valium, wasnít it?
Anesthesiologist: Nothing remotely like Valium.
Deuter: But you said generic Valium.
Anesthesiologist: I never said anything about Valium.
Deuter: Huh. I thought I heard that.
Anesthesiologist: Not from me.
Deuter: But you had him on a general anesthetic, didnít you?
Anesthesiologist: No.
Deuter: Then you had him on a local anesthetic.
Anesthesiologist: No.
Deuter: Can you just tell me what drugs he was on?

Aaronís attorney had not done enough homework even to know what drugs they had Aaron on. It was the foundation of his entire argument and he had not done even that.

The anesthesioligst leafed through the records till he found it.

Anesthesiologist: It says right here that it was Zetran.
Deuter: Zetran?
Anesthesiologist: Zetran.
Deuter: Can that cause hallucinations?
Anesthesiologist: Not that I know of.

It was something Aaron knew of. Aaron had done a web search on Zetran. Warnings said to stop taking it if it causes hallucinations or severe confusion. It also mentioned vivid dreams and changes in behavior and that it is a depressant. But no one asked him. Dueter had not done his homework and the anesthesiologist was not about to do it for him. So the anesthesiologist feigned ignorance.

Deuter: But youíve had patients experience hallucinations as a result of being under anesthesia, havenít you?
Anesthesiologist: Not that I recall.
Dueter: Not that you recall?
Anesthesiologist: Not that I recall.

And that was what Dueter claimed as best attempt to defend his client.

*        *        *

The first time Aaron met David Deuter he came out of the meeting emphatically telling Blacky that Deuter had to be taken off of this case. Blacky told Aaron to calm down. Aaron wondered if Blacky had not just been in that meeting with him.

"Didn't you hear him? He doesn't know anything about medicine. He doesn't know anything about the internet. He doesn't know anything about defamation. And he just demonstrated no willingness to learn. Besides that, he is the least articulate attorney I ever have met. It you expect nothing else from an attorney, you expect them at least to be able to articulate a position."
"Give him a chance."
"A chance to become articulate? You think he's suddenly going to become articulate this week?"
"He's a good lawyer."
"He never will be able to defend this case. He never will understand the information necessary to defend it. And if he did, he never will be able to explain it to a jury."
"You don't know that we are going to trial. Usually these things settle."
"You also told me that she never would sue me because she didn't have a case."
"Deuter can handle this. The insurance company pays him because he's good. He settles cases all the time."
"He can't even answer my questions. How is he going to argue with HJ?"
"Give him a chance."
"I don't have time to give him a chance."
"He can do this job."
"I want you to call the insurance company and tell them how badly I want this lawyer off of this case and why."
"Just give him a chance. All I'm asking is that you give him a chance."

Aaron finally relented. But a few weeks later he came out of another meeting he had had with Deuter, went straight to a telephone, called Blacky and demanded that Blacky call the insurance company immediately and get Deuter off of this case. "It's even worse than I thought. I gave him a chance. I did what you asked. As bad as I thought he was when I first met him, I never imagined he could be as bad as he is." Blacky refused to make that phone call. "Then I'm going to call the insurance company." Blacky told Aaron that if he did, he would be undermining Blacky's ability to represent him against the insurance company. They argued. Aaron finally relented again.

This was a case about statements made on the World Wide Web. Dueter did not know how to get on the Web. He did not know how to use email. He did not know how to open a browser. He thought that for the most part the Web was a dark place where bad people did elicit things anonymously. He thought that Aaron was one of those people and chastised him for having defamed the hospital and the surgeon and the nurse.

"It's not defamation if what you say is true."
"It's defamation."
"All I did was tell the truth."
"You said awful things about them."
"I described what they did to me. What's awful is that they did those things."
"Why did you put it on the web?" Oh, good God. Hadn't Aaron explained that enough times? "And is it really fair to put on your site people who are innocent?"
"What do you mean?"
"There are doctors mentioned on your site who haven't done anything wrong."
"Of course. They are the corroboration. They are the footnotes. They are the proof that I have injuries consistent with the assault."
"But is it really fair to put them on your site when they are innocent."

Aaron finally said out loud to Dueter that it was outrageous that the insurance company would assign to defend a case about statements made on the Internet a man who did not know the first thing about the Internet or defamation or medicine and who had demonstrated both a lack of interest and a lack of aptitude for learning it.

Aaron had tried to teach Dueter how to get on the Internet. The computer in Dueter's office had an Internet connection. He had offered to come to Deuter's office and lead him through it. Dueter had said just to show him how over the phone. But Dueter was such an ignoramus about his computer he could not even click on things the right way and said he would get his wife to show him how to do it. But he never did.

One Sunday his wife did help him browse to www.Aaron.com where they saw things he had done to help an entrepreneurship class at his old high school. In the Village of Colorado they have a course in entrepreneurship that teaches high school students how to write a business plan, how to work with designers and manufacturers and distributors and publicity agents and the other people who make business work. After the business planning stage, the course was less about how to do the other jobs yourself than about how to manage the people and firms who can do them for you. In the Village of Colorado, management is the thing for which parents want their children to be trained.

Aaron happened to be at his parent's home and answered the phone one evening when the students from his old high school called asking how they could reach Ted. They were from the entrepreneur class. They explained their project and their need for a designer. Aaron wanted to tell them that they didn't know what they were getting into, but it would have sent a message he didn't want to send, one that would be rude and appear demeaning to his brother when really it was only that Ted was too far beyond their orbit. They needed something quickly realizable. Ted could enthrall and enchant planners and dreamers and lead entire teams to Never Never Land. Worlds are changed in Never Never Land, but usually not at a profit, which was the goal of this class. Aaron put them in touch with Ted, but told them that he had a few thoughts himself that he would put on his web site for them. He didn't, but he spent several days slicing, cutting and bending metal and plastic and taking photos of his creations to post on his site for them. The thing that got the attention of one of them in the end was a key fob Aaron had made for himself.

For a while gas stations stopped allowing self serve customers to use nozzles that held themselves open. A person had to stand holding the handle of the nozzle to keep it running. Aaron didn't like that and had cut a piece of plastic continued putting notches in various places until it worked with every nozzle he encountered. It was one of the things of which he shot a photo and posted on his site for the entrepreneur class. In the end it was the product they took to market. They didn't sell it to friends and relatives or go door to door. A manufacturers representative took it and them to a trade show where three retailers picked it up. They made $60,000 for their school that year. They would not be able to do the same thing the next year while learning to manage a maturnig product, because they had not had the $10,000 necessary to patent it. So other companies copied it and put them out of business. The school, instead of reinvesting in the entrepreneur program, say by enabling them to patent their next product, or enabling them to hire consultants to show them how to float an IPO for their next venture, bought sports equipment.

All that was on Aaron's web site, the various designs, the account of the venture, and thoughts about how they might consider making use of such funds if they ever struck it rich again. Dueter and his wife browsed through that and then stopped. At the bottom of every page on his site was an index of all the major sections into which the site was divided. Possible products for the entrepreneur class was only one of the sections. Another of the sections, the first one on the list, was the table of contents. It contained links to all of the pages available to the public. The first thing at the top of the homepage was a link to that table of contents. At the table of contents the first link at the top of the page was to a page called "Flash and Art." If you clicked on that link, there before you was a link to the artwork that nearly enabled Wiley to have Aaron's house searched, computer seized and have Aaron put in jail.

If Dueter had clicked the first link on the homepage, and then the first link at the top of the table of contents, he would have been looking at a page of art with which a lawyer trying to protect his client needed to be familiar. But Dueter and his wife did not click the two primary links on the site. They clicked on one single link lower on the homepage, browsed around that section for a bit, and then left. They made no attempt to go to www.godsdoctor.com, the site that was the subject of the lawsuit.

Bundled with the PhotoShop suite that Aaron had purchased had been a program called LiveMotion, which was Adobe's first attempt to be part of the flash programming that was quickly becoming ubiquitous on the Internet. Since it was being used to widely, and since he happened to own software that makes it, Aaron decided to see if he could learn it. He bought an instructional book and everyday did another exercise from it. Whatever was on his mind became his subject for the exercise each day. One day he had been feeling oppressed by the aggressive spam overwhelming his mailbox and so that was the material he used for that day's exercise. Another day he had just read a newspaper article about a boycott downtown and made that the subject. But then there was the day he received in the mail the notice that the Supreme Court of Ohio was denying him the chance to sue the surgeon because Aaron's lawyer, Shackly, had missed the deadline. That day Aaron created the piece of flash art that nearly got him incarcerated.

It said, "I will never stop. You cannot not escape. I am on my way. There may be set backs. There may be delays. You may have many friends, much influence and considerable power. But I will never stop. I will never break a law no matter how many times you do, but I will arrive where you are. And everyone will know what you are and what you did." It was colorful and active and as ominous as Aaron could make it.

The great thing about a having a site with a URL like www.aaron.com is that just by virtue of the URL it gets traffic. People who came to his site left comments about what they had seen there. That was valuable feedback. So each day he posted his flash exercise in case any flash programmers saw it and commented. He wanted to learn from their expertise. His exercises sat on his site the Internet waiting for people to see them and comment on them. If Dueter actually had wanted to protect Aaron, who after all , was in trouble because of poor judgment about what to put on the web, all he would have had to do is click the two first links on his web site. If he had, he would have seen "I will never stop." But he didn't. Wiley did.

*        *        *

In court, one of the nurses testifying for HJ said that she recently had recommended that her own father go to Sales for surgery. She said that she wouldn't have done that if she had not had complete confidence in Dr. Sales. Aaron told his lawyers that they should correct the misimpression that this made. The question was not whether or not Sales was competent. It was whether or not he was evil. Of course he could be trusted not to commit a crime against the nurse's father. She was part of his team. Wolves do not eat members of their own packs. And she might be willing to say something about it if it was her own father he did something nasty to. But Dueter just snorted a little at the suggestion. Aaron so much wanted to get rid of this lawyer. But Blacky stopped him.

 

 

Rough Draft / Under Construction

 

 

 

It is accepted that lawyers say in court things that they might not know to be true, but they are not supposed to lie. But they do. Wiley made up lies, big ones that he knew were not true.

 

 

 

Lawyers who are hired by insurance companies to defend cases are expect to keep the insurance companies informed about how things are going, especially during trials. Everyday Dueter write a note to the insurance company about how things had gone that day. One day, during a break, Dueter took Aaron aside and asked him what a search string is. Aaron tried to explain it to the man who didn't even know how to open a browser. Back in court Dueter got up in front of the jury and incorrectly repeated some of what Aaron had explained to him. That enabled Dueter to report to the insurance company that on that day he had handled the Internet issues. Now if Aaron filed a grievance saying that Dueter had not prepared and had not handled the Internet issues, Dueter could point to his confused, inept paragraph about search strings and say that he did try. That's all lawyers have to do. They only have to appear to have tried. They are allowed to be inept. They are allowed to fail. They just have to appear to have tried.

The third day of the trial Dueter wrote in his note to the insurance company, "This

 

 

 

The next day Wiley showed up saying that the night before Aaron had posted on the Internet information that was damaging to his client HJ. Since Wiley and Blacky had never checked the sites, they had no idea whether the information had been there for months or years or just had been posted the night before. The leaned toward believing Wiley.

Rough Draft / Under Construction

 

 

-------------------

He asked Dueter to ask him a question in court that would give him an opportunity to wonder if anyone else doesn't think "the lady doeth protest too much." But Dueter never asked it.

 

Persons, places, events, names and situations in this story are purely fictional.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to their names or histories,
is coincidental and unintentional.

_____________________________________________________________

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Silence versus Patient Safety
Loyalty versus Patient Safety
The White Wall of Silence versus Patient Safety
Blacklisting Patients
Freedom of Speech for Patients
Medical Complaints - How to

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It's a path

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