A group of parents who have children currently being treated for cancer at the pediatric oncology unit spent this past Thanksgiving holiday break worrying and making protest signs.
Today, Dec. 1, they bundled up and took their signs and held them in front of the Kaiser Woodland Hills Medical Center.
They passed out flyers to other parents who, they said, “may be unaware that soon their lives may become even more difficult.” Dayana Carrillo, parent of Aaron, 2 1/2, said her son is one of numerous children being treated for leukemia at the facility, and many parents may not be aware of Kaiser’s plans to close this crucial unit.
Carrillo and other parents at the demonstration pointed out that the Woodland Hills facility provides care to the most vulnerable — children with cancer living not only in the San Fernando Valley, but for surrounding areas stretching out into Ventura.
“We are holding this news conference because our kids are suffering with this monster — Cancer,” Carrillo said. “Now our children and we, as their parents and caregivers, will be suffering and seriously impacted with Kaiser’s decision to close this life saving unit that provides treatment for our kids.”
Carillo said that they have much confidence in the doctor who has been treating her child in Woodland Hills and said she doesn’t understand.
“This callous action will remove our children from the care of their doctor who is known for compassionate care. She is the doctor most familiar with our children’s cases and health history.”
The parents also point out that Kaiser has not properly informed them and now they are between a rock and a hard place.
“The new health enrollment periods have ended for many plans, like my husband’s,” Carrillo said. “Now the option to change to another health care provider that is close to our homes is no longer available to us. It concerns us that Kaiser has deliberately kept us in the dark when our kids are vulnerable.”
She said that the Woodland Hills facility is close to home and her doctor has worked her in when her son develops a fever, or there is something that needs to be monitored.
“It will be a problem, especially if we have to travel somewhere else miles away,” Carillo said.
Parents said Kaiser has implied that they are merely reacting to “rumors,” but said that medical staff have given them a far different impression and they’ve even been told that personnel from the Kaiser Los Angeles facility in Hollywood have come to Woodland Hills to have a “transition meeting.”
Kaiser has sent out a statement to inquiring media but, still, the fate of the unit remains unconfirmed and unclear to parents.
The statement reads:
“We understand there has been some misinformation that we feel it is important to address. We have every intention of continuing to offer high quality pediatric clinical oncology services at the Woodland Hills Medical Center,” wrote Peggy Hinz, senior director of Regional Integrated Brand Communications for Kaiser Permanente, Southern California Region.
“There are no plans to stop providing these services at this location. In-patient services may be provided at another nearby Kaiser Permanente location at some future time. We will be sharing these details over the coming months directly with families who may be affected as plans are finalized. We will be providing letters to the parents assuring them pediatric care is not closing at this medical center,” Hinz added.
At the protest parents publicly pleaded to those in authority.
“Why do we have to wait for information? Kaiser, please don’t play with our children’s precious lives, please don’t cause our families more stress. This disease is devastating enough. We need this facility — please reconsider.”
The parents have started a petition, visit https://goo.gl/hXWQEo