HEALTH CARE ISSUES
VIEW ALL THE OBSERVER
HEALTH CARE STORIES ON
Health Care for America Now
PLUS: From sudden staff terminations at VVMC to multiple NLRB indictments at FMC...What ails Northern Arizona Healthcare?
Read another doctor's story.
SiCKO IN SEDONA
AND ALL OF ARIZONA
THE SAGA CONTINUES
Health-care horror stories point to a system that values profit over human life.
TELL US YOUR STORY!
CLICK HERE to submit your health care testimonial.
The Economics of Breast Cancer - Read the 2008 report in our ongoing series
Find out what you can do!
HR 676 - Temporary Band-Aid or permanent cure?
ELECTION YEAR 2008
Political essayist and author Paul Rogat Loeb analyzes the races in the most critical election in American history, with a special two-article focus on Barack Obama. PLUS: Gender issues and election politics by Kathleen MacThompson.
Editorials and Letters: From the the war and health care, to media and the elections, readers exercise their freedom of speech in letters of indignation and exaltation.
ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT
Charles Grantham brings his big city think-tank expertise to Prescott, helping local leaders think outside the box on the future of work and economic development. John Neville defines a sustainable economy.
WORKPLACE and LABOR ISSUES
Turning over a new page in labor history. PLUS: NLRB charges Flagstaff Medical Center with 53 counts of labor violations. Nurses rally for hospital patient protection legislation.
STATE OF THE STATE: "We are strong."
Political reporter Mike Cosentino analyzes Gov. Janet Napolitano's State of the State address and what it spells for Arizona's future.
Listen to the governor deliver her Five Point Plan for Arizona before a Clarkdale audience in this video produced by award-winning Zaki Gordon filmmaker Stephen DeVol.
Who will serve as our next mayor? Political reporter Mike Cosentino poses some tough questions to the candidates.
Sedona's Top 10 Issues
WATCH THE LIVE VIDEO INTERVIEWS
News and Views
Streetlight debates, the Dibor Roberts case and local letters and commentaries
What is sustainability? Plus: 40 Simple Steps to Save the Planet. Water advocacy group outlines strategies.
THE HOMELESS, PART 1
DOWN AND OUT
More and more working families find themselves on the street, debunking the myth that the homeless are just drunks and deadbeats. Traci Robertson reports the hard facts in "Street Talk." PLUS: A special commentary on homeless veterans by author Richard Aberdeen.
The Turning Point
San Francisco writer and artist Jim Kirwan talks about the new national epidemic in "Dumbocracy - The Silence of Americans."
Thomas R. Paine's Column
Does the Bush administration resemble the Nazi regime? Clues from the past hint at America's disturbing future.
Alan Painter looks beneath the surface to examine commonly held beliefs in need of deeper scrutiny.
VISUAL, LITERARY AND PERFORMING ARTS
Professional life coach, author, mediator and divorce attorney Lori Rubenstein offers coping tools and relationship wisdom for men and women of all ages. PLUS: Marie King on "How to Make a Living as an Artist."
ONE LAST OBSERVATION
The Sedona Observer
Restoring 18th Century
Journalism Principles and
the Moral Responsibility
of the Fourth Estate for
the Common Good
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of the Press
New Media for the
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
1st Place National Press Award
"Writing for the Web"
Natl. Federation of Press Women
A Mother's Heartbreak
Could proper medical intervention
have saved her daughter's life?
Leslye and Joe Kincade mourn the "unnecessary" loss of their beloved daughter, Leslye Anne Piper, a 24-year-old wife and mother of three young children whose photograph is all her family has left of her. The Kincades join many others across Arizona who have courageously stepped forward to tell The Sedona Observer about the health-care horrors ruining their lives. Read other stories in the "SiCKO in Sedona and All of Arizona" ongoing series or click on the video link below and listen as the Kincades explain how they feel a "corrupt health care system" robbed their daughter's life and what everyone needs to know to protect their own. Photo by Catherine Rourke.
What really caused the death of 24-year-old Leslye Anne Piper, a vibrant and healthy Flagstaff mother of three?
How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what can we learn from this tragedy?
These questions will haunt us for a very long time until we know the verifiable factors that contributed to her untimely death. If her mother Leslye Kinkade’s disturbing testimonial bears any weight, then the lack of a formal medical investigation in this case will continue to haunt us as well.
Leslye Anne Piper suddenly passed away in 2005 within days of giving birth to her third child. While the medical examiner ruled nothing amiss in her case, her mother and others, including several doctors, believe otherwise.
The Sedona Observer has invited the medical authorities involved in this case to present their side of the facts. Until we receive their statements, Leslye Anne's medical records point to some questionable holes left by a detached system that may have also left Jazmen, age 2; James, age 4; and Leslye Marie, age 9, with an even bigger hole – the lack of a mother for the rest of their lives.
We placed Leslye Kincade's story on our front page - over the economy, the war and the elections - because we believe it represents the epitome of how the current health care system is destroying American families. Before we move on to her testimonial, let's look at why the media must start reporting such stories.
Broken, bankrupt and debauched
Like a gaping wound that becomes uglier each day before it begins to heal, America’s health care industry remains in critical condition and in need of serious intensive care.
In order to mend a broken system, we cannot wait for some far-off election with the vague hope that new leadership will take the medical bull by the horns in 2009 so America can experience healing by 2010. Like the case of Leslye Anne, that will unfortunately be too late.
The alarm clock isn’t simply ticking; we have completely run out of time and must wake up now. Too many people are hurting, suffering and dying. That’s why The Sedona Observer believes that in order to change the dysfunction of the current health care system, we must change the media dysfunction first because it serves as the primary vehicle of information that shapes public thought.
The press must resume its moral responsibility to serve as agents of truth instead of courtiers of power. Therefore, we need to investigate reports of rampant abuse, runaway greed, blatant neglect, undisclosed alternatives and the numerous allegations surfacing about the medical industry submitted to us by nurses, doctors and patients for public scrutiny.
Only by allowing these stories to be heard will we find a way to resolve the massive crisis plaguing us as a nation.
Telling the stories of our time
We also believe that the vast majority of medical personnel have the biggest hearts on the planet; that’s why they chose health care. As hard-working, diligent professionals dedicated to wellness, many of them remain unsung heroes. The press should be singing their praises too and give credit where it’s due.
Furthermore, the media must encourage medical practitioners, industry employees and the general public to come forward with their testimonials so it can examine what is wrong and where the problem lies, as well as explore possible alternatives for the surgery needed to correct and prevent. Slapping mere Band-Aids on severed arteries will only bleed us to death.
The Sedona Observer has initiated this process by publishing the allegations and letters flooding our e-mail on behalf of the public good in compliance with media law and journalism ethics; reading in between the lines of medical industry reports to expose the truth; examining current data about pharmaceutical and industry practices; probing sources of medical industry information to separate the wheat from the chaff; replacing surface news reporting with in-depth issue analysis; and even gathering stories for our upcoming “Health Care Heroes” series.
Most importantly, we shun advertising so that we’re not forced to censor allegations about a medical clinic, hospital or pharmaceutical company because of their expensive full-page ads that provide media revenues. Instead, we believe the time has come to change the way the media conducts its business altogether. (See our MEDIA REFORM page for more information, the WHY page for our mission, and the HOW page for our modus operandi). In that, journalism shares much in common with medicine.
We strongly urge our fellow media to follow suit for the sake of human health and life. While we do not publish these testimonials as factual but only as claims to document the social conditions and challenges of our time, we feel it will help wake up Americans to look deeper at the systems we regard with veneration and without question – because these stories suggest there is something deeply wrong on a much more intrinsic level.
Health care: the issue that unites us all
We encourage media to focus more on health care because it is the one issue that unites us all as Americans. Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, Democrat or Republican, black or white, insured or uninsured – no one is immune from the imminent scourge of America’s health care industry that remains unselective in who it will rip off, overmedicate, chew up and leave for dead – as in the case of 24-year-old Leslye Anne.
Among the dozens of health-care horror stories pouring in to The Sedona Observer from all over the country, this one from Flagstaff, Ariz., captured us so tightly in its poignant grip that we decided it warranted our front page for all the world to see.
Leslye Anne Piper was a vibrant woman in the bloom of youth, a wife and mother of three young children whose life was surreptitiously cut short. When her distraught mother contacted us about this story, we asked if she would put it in writing and talk about it on video as well. Read and listen to Leslye Kincade in her own words.
WATCH THE KINCADE VIDEO
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
The story of Leslye Anne Piper
as told to The Sedona Observer
by Leslye C. Kincade
“This is in response to an e-mail from a friend showing me The Sedona Observer and their doing stories about medical horrors. I personally have three cases that happened within about 10 months’ time in 2005.
The first one involves the death of my daughter, Leslye Anne Piper, who had just given birth to her third child on October 1, 2005, at age 24. Leslye Anne’s pregnancy was considered high-risk since she had once been diagnosed with Preeclampsia – a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, sudden weight gain and headaches.
Her doctor, who had a practice in Flagstaff along with two others, claimed to be a physician trained in high-risk pregnancy, and his affiliated hospital also advertised this claim.”
Running the red light
“Leslye Anne had an extremely high level of edema at approximately 18 weeks of pregnancy, which should have signaled a red light immediately to the doctor. Instead, she was told that she was just ‘tired of being pregnant.’
She had been complaining of pain on her right side right below her ribs. Again, Leslye Anne was told that she was tired of being pregnant and that her symptoms were psychological problems and not medical ones. Many women encounter this type of response when reporting their medical symptoms.
She was also being seen by another female doctor in the practice who was rude and definitely had a problem. Leslye Anne and I both kept requesting that she (the doctor) not be allowed to see Leslye Anne since there was evidently some kind of personality conflict. We were told that they would try to put her in with the third doctor, or the main doctor, when they could.
In June 2005 Leslye Anne went to the doctor and complained about severe cramping. She was told by the female doctor that she would be tested for a secretion indicating that early labor could be detected. It came back positive. They put her in the hospital, where she developed a migraine headache and leg pain, in addition to vomiting.”
Passing the baton
“The main doctor, who was supposed to be a perinatologist, wasn’t coming in to see Leslye Anne. Instead, he was having the female doctor come in but she never even saw my daughter.
The female doctor would write in her chart and give orders but never spoke to Leslye Anne face-to-face. The doctors would let my daughter go for days without ever having any doctor come into the room. I have medical records and court documents to prove it.
Leslye Anne’s blood pressure and temperature would fluctuate from very low to high. At one point, the third doctor came in and referred her to a perinatologist.
But the nurses were told by the hospital administrator not to call the perinatologist (apparently because such a specialist would cost significantly more money) and that the other doctor, who was just a gynecologist, would take care of her. She was discharged on bed rest on July 24, 2005.”
“It’s all in your head”
“In August, while Leslye Anne kept complaining about having difficulty breathing, she was not experiencing any asthma, however. She also complained that she couldn’t eat or drink and keep anything down.
We kept going to the Labor and Delivery floor where a few of the nurses are very nice. Some other nurses, however, started calling my daughter a liar and stated that she couldn’t be gaining weight if she couldn’t eat or drink. But you can if you are retaining fluids, especially if you have Preeclampsia. Yet no one seemed to pay any attention to that.
I kept pointing out that her lips were turning a bluish color and that I was really beginning to worry due to that and her fluid retention. Still, they told me not to worry and that she was just ‘tired of being pregnant.’
In September, once again, we were at Labor and Delivery and the doctor’s office. And, once again, we were told that it was all in Leslye Anne’s head. Meanwhile, my other daughter was being told that I was getting too involved and that I needed to stay out of things.”
A mother’s plea
“We begged for them to do an induction and, because this particular doctor was already under investigation for bringing another baby too prematurely, he would not do anything. He said there was nothing that he could or would do to make my daughter’s life a little easier and never gave any specific answers why.
From a mother’s point of view, I knew her concerns were valid – the steady but inexplicable weight gain of 80 pounds, tremendous swelling, blue lips, fluctuating blood pressure and headaches. We brought up the issue of Preeclampsia – which we had to mention to the doctor, not the other way around. Instead, he said he was firm and ruled it out as a possibility, emphasizing that the problems were inside Leslye Anne’s head.
As a mother, I knew that it wasn’t in her head and that we had issues that really needed to be taken care of. Anyone (but the doctor, obviously) could see there was a serious medical problem here. But I just didn’t know how to go about getting the help that she needed.” Continued on Page 2 ...
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This newspaper is dedicated to my mother and father, who taught me to always stand for my truth, remain fearless and never ever give up.
The Sedona Observer also dedicates this site to our literary heroes - writers, journalists, muckrakers and social reformers - whose work helped to shed light on the social injustices of their time: Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau, John Swinton, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Karl Marx, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and others.
Their legacy to expose corruption through the tip of their pens serves as an inspiration for our work here in these media-impaired times.
It is our intention to carry their torch and keep the spirit of muckraking alive in an era when it remains more desperately needed than ever.
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