The American Patient Defense Union — The Time Has Come!

The American Patient Defense Union — The Time Has Come!

For the past 4 years I’ve been living in a crucible from hell — as a husband-turned-activist, father, surgeon and citizen.

But my family is not alone — there are literally hundreds of thousands of American families every year, avoidably affected or harmed by our healthcare establishment’s ethically defunct corporate directives.

The overt business influence and a rich revenue stream from our insurance investments has corrupted American medicine at its highest levels of establishment.

As a surgeon, turned patient-activist, I’ve often thought that individual American patients need a professional watchdog force to defend them, in a personalized way, as they navigate the finely polished corporate healthcare maze.

There is powerful precedent for such a concept.

American Laborers and workers, susceptible to corporate abuse, have their unions.

Americans susceptible to civil rights violations have the ACLU and NAACP.

But who defends individual patients whose rights are ignored? Who defends those patients who are harmed or are in harm’s way? Very certainly not the healthcare corporations and their minions! And not the “advocacy groups” focused on creating “safe space” for patients to commiserate or kumbaya for empathy/sympathy — and not those organizations designed to address broad and impersonal policy, public health or research issues.

Don’t take me wrong. Patients need empathic shoulders, policy diplomats, and research advocates — but what is sorely missing is an army capable of providing liability blows, when things are bad or go wrong.

To be clear, I am not talking about creating another “advocacy group”. Instead, what I know is missing in the healthcare marketplace is a patient-powered strike force. An army capable of delivering well-crafted and precision-made liability signals to the corporate risk managers guarding every level of our healthcare establishment — providers, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical and device makers, even federal and state level political leaders guided by industry lobby.

Any one of us, healthy today, can be on the receiving end of patient harm tomorrow — and when this happens today, there is no real force defending us!

Yes, there are medical malpractice lawyers. But most of those, take on only the cases where there is a reasonable assurance of a win — and, anyway, the vast majority of plaintiff’s cases against doctors and hospitals lose in court.

In the year 2017, American patients are where American laborers and the African-American people were in the early part of the 20th century. That is, literally defenseless in the face of an increasingly corporatized medical marketplace designed to serve the healthy and the wealthy “majority”, and polished to achieve “cost and liability containment” for the corporation.

In the 20th century, American laborers and the African-American people created and supported powerful unions, such as the AFL-CIO, the ACLU and the NAACP. And the American patient has a lot to learn from those examples.

These unions defend the rights of individual citizens against powerful corporate and status quo forces using the force of liability and litigation.

IMAGINE American history without the AFL-CIO, the ACLU or the NAACP. What would America look like today?

Irrespective of the political criticism some direct at unions, the state of labor and civil rights in America would be unimaginable had these forces not emerged onto the scene with the teeth they possess.

Unions give Americans voice — they empower citizens in the face of utilitarian corporate forces.

Unions are necessary for the evolution of a well-balanced market and a just democratic republic. Because unions empower and balance the marketplace equation.

There is no question that the individual American patient, today, needs a powerful counterbalance to the well-polished and powerful corporate healthcare establishment — with its robust complement of well-polished marketing and legal defenses.

Isn’t it time for the American patient to have a union of his or her own, with the power to impose real liability on the healthcare establishment when needed by the susceptible patient — and every patient who walks into a hospital or provider’s office is susceptible, make no mistake.

The lucrative nature of healthcare reimbursements has, in many cases, turned the patient into nothing more than a package on the conveyor belt of corporate medicine. Inside hospitals, administrators and leading doctors, use the term “service line” to describe their money machine.

In such an environment countless patients, already vulnerable because of their illness, are also susceptible to the corporate system’s impersonal orientation, to predatory practices, and when avoidably harmed, to irreversible loss and liability.

It is a virtual certainty that our federal government will not be able to autonomously defend the patient position well. Not because it is intentionally corrupted or malicious, but because our federal system is designed to accommodate and serve diverse stakeholders based on their lobby power — not just patients. And in the healthcare marketplace, today, patients are the weakest of all the stakeholders in the market equation — even though they are the basic source of value to the establishment.

THIS, is not right.

BUT — — IMAGINE, a union designed to achieve balance and justice for every American patient with a legitimate grievance. And, in my experience, almost all patients who complain about something have a legitimate grievance or need more accurate information.

IMAGINE, a union focused on the defense of individual patients’ rights in navigating a complex and, at times, impersonal healthcare system led by corporate directives.

IMAGINE, a union designed to provide its individual members access to an unprecedented watchdog organization designed to promote and defend the rights of its every member.

IMAGINE, a union designed to focus on the adverse experiences of individual patients — in order to generate granular, personalized, professionally crafted and adequately powered liability signals to the corporate healthcare establishment’s guardians. And I assure you, when corporations receive real liability signals, they respond quite efficiently!

IMAGINE, a union that operates as a Co-Op organization sustained and owned strictly by its members: that is, every individual American who is a patient or a potential patient — irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomics or immigration status.

IMAGINE, a union formed of the patient, by the patient and for the patient — for every patient.

IMAGINE, an unprecedented member-powered watchdog co-op committed to delivering adequately powered and expertly crafted liability signals to the healthcare establishment using the adverse experiences of individual patients — for the sole purpose of defending patients’ rights and improving safety and quality in a muscular way.


The only question is: Are individual American patients, in the millions, willing to invest in creating such a union with enough teeth to correct the system’s inequities by generating transparent liability signals and through muscular litigation when needed?

More importantly, are YOU, the American patient, willing to rise up?


13 Responses

  1. I just found this post today, 1-11-19. Why the hell get people fired up if you never planned on coming back to assist in the laying of the foundation and guidance of your grandiose vision??
    I “Imagine” he left you good folks hanging.
    If you all are still interested in the forming of a patient based union, research how the above mentioned were formed and create a model based on those and reach out to gather the necessary people.
    Best wishes…

  2. This is exactly what we need! What can we do?

  3. Yes!! What is the next step. Sharing on facebook

  4. I would like to be a part of this. Thank you!

  5. I’m in…!

  6. I am 100% in. Don’t know how I can help but I realize we kneed something. There are way to many of us that need help so if we stand together, I’m sure we are the best individuals for the job. Let me know what I can contribute.

    In the big picture of this jmo,,,there will be generations after us,,,they deserve better,,then what is happening to us now,,After reading,research etc,,as WE all have,,,it has become very clear to me,,,Tom Price,,dea,,want pain management gone for good,,with comments like,,,”we do not want to create more addict,”and the fact the government views US,,THE MEDICALLY ILL,,,ADDICTS,OR LTD,,, a slanderous lie,,but they do,the government thinks were all drug addicts,,,1 OF THE REASON THEY HAVE WILLFULY CENSOR’D US EVERY WHERE,,,,,tHE GOVERNMENT WANTS SOLE CONTROL OF OUR MEDICINES,,THEY HAVE USE FEAR ON OUR DOCTORS,,AND WE ALL KNOW,,THERE ARE VERY VERY FEW PAIN MANAGEMENT DOCS LEFT,,,EXACTLLY WHAT THE DEA,TOM PRICE WANTS….TOM PRICE STATED HIMSELF,,BAand i quote hhs site Tom Price said,,,” IN 1990’S HE KNEW PAIN MANAGEMET WAS WRONG,,”’,,,GEE DO U THINK HE ABUSED HIS POSITION OF POWER TO LITERALLY TORTURE US TO DEATH AND DESTROY OUR DOCTORS LIFE WORKS,ie,,PRISON,,,,
    I’m in 10,0000 %,,,just PLEASE PLEASE tell me what I gotta do,.,,,,,we have future generation that deserve better,,,,maryw

  8. I will gladly join this!

  9. Great. How do we go about this and unite pain patients on a massive scale to ensure that this succeeds? Even if we do not succeed, we must unite and fight unless we are willing to lie down and be buried and killed by policy based NOT on any scientific evidence for enforcing these opioid guidelines. When I was told that my condition was permanent, I fought to get better and only used my fully allowed med doses during level 9 pain. I have never increased my dose, but I was promised by several specialists that I would not be forced to suffer, that the medical community “did not leave patients to suffer in pain”. Now they want to take pain out of medical triage and leave us without pain medicine to treat valid medical conditions. We need a way to be heard through legal channels or a union. Pain patients will join the fight but will you, pharmacist Steve help us or please guide is in the right direction? I have fought legal battles as an assistant and researcher. I have the motivation because I am not willing to allow death as my only alternative. Other pain patients do not want to either. Where do we start because we are members of this country too and we are not disposable.

  10. I’m IN!!!!! What’s the next step?

  11. I think every patient fighting for dignity and their right to a decent life and well being would be all for this !!! I know I’m all in !!!!

  12. I emailed this article to you probably the same time you were posting this!
    You know me, I would love to do this!

  13. Yes please I have been saying that for years how do we do it when can we do it and who is going to start it because I am ready.
    Even though I am sick this has to stop and we need some control so that we have life to look forward to and not be treated as animals or less.
    Please help please help please help……………

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