My name is Sandra Booker and this is my story. This is a true story. I hope you will read it. It just might save your life or the life of someone you love.
On August 14, 2008, I was admitted to UCLA/Ronald Reagan Medical Center for an arthroscopic procedure to repair my damaged shoulder from a car accident I’d had the previous year. Four days after discharge home, I discovered second- and third-degree burns to my right breast and my back. No one ever told me I had been injured. I was simply sedated and sent home. I would be readmitted to UCLA hospital for scar revision surgery, assured by my doctor the hospital would cover those expenses. That was a lie, as UCLA not only didn't cover revision surgery costs, they also reversed rehab and therapy insurance payments, leaving me with huge medical bills.
I filed a lawsuit but to my shock and disbelief, I discovered MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975), signed into law by then and current governor, Jerry Brown, which puts a cap on medical malpractice compensation for patients. The state of California has a $250,000 cap on such suits, and consequently attorneys don't consider it to be worth their time and effort. MICRA laws are on the books in 36 other states. I found an attorney to represent me, but the instant it became clear UCLA was holding all the cards he abandoned my case. The attorney was worse…but honest.
He advised me UCLA is too "prestigious and powerful" to prevail against at court, that a “conservative” jury would most likely not find in my favor. I’d have to give him a minimum of $50,000 to even go to trial, and if I lost the case, I would owe UCLA for all their court costs, which would likely exceed $150,000. Yes, UCLA will pay lawyers more to fight me than do the right thing by me.
As a result, my life savings have been wiped out, I have been diagnosed with a condition called denervation, which causes chronic arm/shoulder pain and must now endure a diminished quality of life. My career has been put on hold and my depression has been unbearable. I was offered a very small settlement of $29,999, also known as a "No Report Cap.” I rejected it because the doctors responsible would have no blame or wrongdoing entered into their official state records. My claim filed with the Medical Board of California was dismissed, saying the doctor was not at fault for my injuries.
To add insult to injury, the attorneys for the Regents of UCLA have petitioned the court to have all expert testimony in my case excluded at trial, and since my attorneys were granted their request to be removed as counsel from my case, I will have to represent myself at trial. And I still owe UCLA the cost of the plastic surgery. I did NOTHING wrong, but I've lost this battle and I recognize that fact. The only thing left for me is to share my story with others in hopes of educating the public about the horrors of MICRA and how it is destroying the lives of patients and families while protecting the profits of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.
I'm currently being sued by some of the attorneys I had hired to seek justice for me, and now find myself dependent on the kindness of strangers. I am asking YOU for your help in this fund-raising effort so that I might restart my life without having to beg the Regents of UCLA to do the right thing and fairly compensate me for my injuries. I've always believed in hard work, personal integrity and responsibility, and have never expected something for nothing. To those who choose to aid me through a donation, I will send them a copy of my latest CD, When Love Happens: The Loving Day Concert, recorded live to commemorate the legalization of interracial marriage in America. It features some of the finest jazz and world music artists on the LA jazz scene today and has received very positive reviews. For more information, visit my site, www.sandrabooker.com.
Thank you again for your support. I'll be posting daily and weekly updates. I hope to rewrite the ending of my story and make it a happy ending at that.