Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Cedars Sinai Medical Facility (Los Angeles)...incompetent & unprofessional staff drag reputation down! (author: Julian Ayrs)
For years, Cedars Sinai has savored a reputation as one of the leading medical facilities in the country.
But, over the past year or two, the hospital's image has suffered dramatically for a myriad of reasons.
For example, I recall a time when patients rarely waited in the emergency room for hours-on-end, bent over in pain.
During the period I am referring to, volunteers checked on patients shortly after they registered at the front desk, and made a concerted effort to ensure that individuals were attended to as quickly as possible and that no one slipped through the cracks.
Today, the lobby at the emergency drop-off has become so clogged with ailing patients (who turn up non-stop on an hourly basis) that dispatchers often try to steer paramedics to hospitals nearby to alleviate the problem of overcrowding.
For some inexplicable reason, the sick and the elderly prefer to travel dozens of miles from four corners of the city to be treated at Cedars. If the situation gets worse, management may have to consider restricting care to patients who reside in the immediate neighborhood.
Once inside the double-doors - and one step closer to a doctor - patients are often left on gurneys in the hallway for long stretches of time where they are subjected to noise, troubling commotions, and - of course - airborne bugs that may infect in the event they're immune systems are weakened.
After hours of languishing in the bowels of the hospital - usually without liquids or treatment - a young doctor fresh out of Medical School finally dashes in - pokes and prods the patient a tad - then slaps together a slip-shod medical assessment.
At this point, nurses and technicians proceed to conduct a battery of tests - that not only run the gamut (blood tests, stool samples, x-rays, and what-have-you) - but turn the hospital visit into a costly proposition that skyrockets by the second.
Chances are, the patient will be released three or four hours later - at an ungodly hour in the middle of the night - with a prescription in hand.
A large percentage of these individuals will probably return a day or two later, when their ailments fail to heal, and it is determined that the doc either misdiagnosed the illness or failed to properly treat it.
Patients who end up being admitted to hospital have complained about lackadaisical nurses slow to respond to the call button, staff who often have difficulty communicating fluently in English, and doctors who disappear into the woodwork shortly after they have whipped up their "orders" (leaving the patient feeling stranded and neglected).
More troubling are reports of theft and unwanted sexual advances.
Recently, I was shocked to discover - first hand - that the incompetence and unprofessional attitude of employees at Cedars Sinai - is running rampant in the scheduling department, too.
For example, one patient contacted a woman by the name of "Suzie" (Dr. Steven Miller's business manager) to set up an appointment.
When the doctor's "right hand" staffer put the individual through to the appointment desk, no one answered at 11 am (on a week day!). A message was left, but the clerk in that department never bothered to call the patient back with the time and a date for an appointment. A follow-up message left for Dr. Miller's assistant Yvette (who was away from her desk and unable to take the call personally) didn't rustle up an appointment either.
The patient was forced to locate another doctor - on short notice - to obtain medical treatment for a troubling stomach ailment that was causing the patient to double-over in pain!
However, it should be noted for the record, that Cedars Sinai's billing department is right on the ball (natch!)
Without fail, the invoice will arrive in the mail a few days later demanding payment.
If a patient doesn't settle the account promptly, Management will enlist the aid of a collection agency to threaten and harass the individual until they do!
To say that Cedars Sinai - and its employees - are quite a piece of work is putting it mildly.
Personally, I recommend that patients seek treatment elsewhere when they're in need of medical care (if they value their lives, that is)
Julian Ayrs Celebrity News...Keanu Reeves scruffy & bloated at Cannes! Justin & Selena snoogling again! Sharon takes Ozzie back!
Justin Bieber....was booed at the Billboard Music Awards the other night. Were the disapproving cries from the audience a backlash triggered by the "Bieb's" questionable conduct on the concert circuit in recent days? No matter. In spite of the "haters" (as the young heartthrob would label 'em) the charismatic young pop star walked off with two of the night's top prizes - the "Milestone Award" and "Top Male Artist". Congrats!
Selena Gomez...the pretty starlet appears to have warmed up to the idea of hitching back up with Justin Bieber in spite of the fact his popularity may be waning with some fans. In fact, the sexy siren was spotted in lip-locks with Justin backstage at the Billboard Awards. Rumors of a reunion were also fueled when the winsome twosome attended a performance of "Love" (?) in Las Vegas. Were the lovebirds sending a message to disbeliebers, do 'ya think? Apparently, Taylor Swift wasn't impressed with the PDA, one iota. According to sources, the country & western cutie stood on the sidelines and stuck out her tongue at the feel-good lovers. Personally? I was surprised that Ms. Swift would act in such an immature childish fashion. I guess the idle rich have nothing better to do.
Sharon Osbourne...has apparently kissed and made up with Ozzy. When her long-time hubby fell of the wagon a few months ago, she gave the Sabbath rocker the old heave-ho. Recently, Ozzy apologized to fans on his Facebook page and noted for the record that he was "44 days sober". Uh-huh! Drug addicts (and drunks) have to take it one day at a time if they're going to make it into the home stretch eventually free of monkeys on their backs.
Keanu Reeves...shocked fans and Officials alike when he breezed into the Cannes Film Festival unshaven, scruffy-looking, and noticeably bloated! The screen hunk's attire - a rumpled linen blazer, oversized v-neck tee, and baggy jeans - left a lot to be desired, as well. Reeves was on hand to promote - The Man of Tai Chi - a film he directed. If the once-popular star intends to grace the screen once again as an action-hero, I expect he'll have to hit the treadmill (and go on a starvation diet), folks. Stay posted for updates.
For years, since the early 80's, I have been trotting over to Pavilions in WeHo to rustle up groceries.
Since that time, the Safeway-owned store - at Robertson and Santa Monica Blvd - has endured over the years as one of the favored places to snatch up the daily staples, pick over fruit and vegetables, and order up select choices of beef and chicken for the main course on the dinner table at home, you-name-it.
The bakery on site has satisfied my sweet tooth for many moons, too; until lately, that is.
For example, one day recently I plucked up one of my favorite doughnuts to munch on in the cafe at the front of the store (next to a Starbucks satellite outlet) while I perused the morning newspaper and checked my e-mail online (yes, Pavilions has free WiFi available for its loyal customers).
After a few small bites, I spat out the dough, though.
For some inexplicable reason, my taste buds were being assaulted with an unpleasant "greasy" aftertaste in my mouth that was so overpowering that I was unable to finish eating the doughnut.
I reflected on the situation for a moment to try to come to grips with the situation.
At this juncture, it dawned on me why the snack - usually a tasty treat in the past - was causing me to gag.
In recent months, the baker - new at the ovens? - had obviously switched the cooking oil to a heavier greasier-tasting brand!
And, that's my pet peeve.
You know what they say:
If something ain't broke, don't fix it.
Until Pavilions switches back to the tried-and-true method of baking doughnuts, in a lighter grease that doesn't overwhelm in a negative way, I won't be patronizing their bakery ever again.
How dare they mess with our doughnuts!
There outta be a law, eh?
Monday, May 20, 2013
Itsy-bitsy Bikinis...sizzling hot poolside and on beaches! Elegant fashion accessories accent style! (author: Julian Ayrs)
If you have a sexy curvaceous body, ladies - or even if 'ya don't - it's probable that you'll be trying on eye-catching selections of revealing swimwear at the local department store as the lazy days of summer approach.
And, chances are, you may end up in an itsy-bitsy bikini sure to crane necks!
Sultry sirens like Selena Gomez got a jump on the trend when she sashayed up poolside last week - the quintessential nymphet - in a stunning multi-colored one that didn't leave much to the imagination.
And, fashion editors have been on top of the skin game, too.
Over the past few weeks any newsie worth their salt reported that skimpy swim outfits - that exalted the flesh - were bound to explode on beaches stateside and abroad this summer.
After all, fashion designers unveiled dazzling collections on runways at Fashion Week in Los Angeles and at the Orange County Fashion Showcase that simply wowed by virtue of their sheer fabrics, fresh fashion flourishes, and elegant accessories (superstar shades, wide-brimmed sun hats, beach-inspired footwear, and precious jewellery anxious to jangle and glint in the mid-day sun).
The bikini is "it" this season.
Gals with a discerning eye will be snapping up styles that run the gamut - from the sophisticated to the sexy - naughty peek-a-boo styles, too - you name it.
Color, fabric, and fit are the key to making a big splash.
I've posted a sampling of what is in the offering from designers, so what are you gals cooling your heels for?
"We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks"...intriguing doc takes jab at Julian Assange! Government's lack of transparency exposed! (Author: Julian Ayrs)
Just before the lights went down at a screening of - "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" - in Beverly Hills last night, an elderly gentleman next to me turned in his chair and wondered aloud if WikiLeaks was associated with Wikipedia.
A man one seat over chuckled.
"No," I responded respectfully, as I tried to conceal my own amusement.
I noted that, initially - when the sensational story on Julian Assange and whistle-blower Bradley Manning made headlines around the globe - I wasn't that keen on following the news reports.
The intriguing revelations about Assange's struggles to publish classified information - on file at its chief target's headquarters (the U.S. Government) and to be supplied by anonymous tipsters - wasn't my cup of tea at the time.
"Sometimes, I like to wait for the dust to settle before I take a stab at publishing a post on a news event," I fessed up.
When the invite arrived to attend a private screening of the documentary, the time was ripe to blog it in my estimation.
"This morning there was a background article on director Alex Gibney in the Los Angeles Times which focused on the complexity of the issues and ultimate challenges he faced bringing the WikiLeaks tale to the big screen in documentary form," I continued.
"I think I have enough background information on Assange and WikiLeaks now to make sense of whatever splashes up there on the screen tonight," I underscored to the man who was all ears at that point.
At first blush, it appeared that the filmmakers were about to exalt the key player - charismatic Julian Assange - an articulate freedom-of-information advocate who allegedly tossed a searing spotlight on dark corners in the corridors of powerful governments and corporations where damning secrets were being hidden from an unsuspecting public (who had a right to know all the sordid shocking details).
But, along the way - as Assange's credibility began to wear thin - the storyteller's insightful penetrating lens ended up zeroing in on a sexually-confused young private by the name of Bradley Manning who leaked the highly-sensitive classified docs to Assange (who, subsequently, turned around and negotiated a deal to have the lot published simultaneously on the Internet sites of reputable dailies such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.
"Manning is the hero of this film," Gibney asserted during the course of a thoroughly enlightening Q & A that followed the screening.
The frank passionate documentarian was quick to explain why.
"He didn't ask for money or try to turn the classified documents over to the enemy. He was troubled by the secrets he uncovered and was anxious that the government be exposed and be held accountable," he noted for the record in so many words.
In fact, the release of the documentary was timed to coincide with Manning's upcoming trial.
Manning, a former intelligence analyst, faces charges of violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy in the most voluminous leak of state secrets in U.S. history, including video footage of a Baghdad air strike and hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and Army reports.
In contrast, the portrait Gibney paints of Julian Assange (the star of the doc?) is less-than-flattering, for good reason.
In one of those bombshell moments, the director disclosed some startling information, which triggered a gasp from the audience in the packed theatre last evening.
"Julian informed me that the going market rate for an interview was $1 million," he chided.
"I don't know what market he was referring to," he mused a second later.
But, the real shocker was yet to come.
When Gibney informed Assange that he did not pay for interviews, the fallen hero uttered up a startling request in the alternative.
"He wanted me to report back on his adversaries," Gibney stated matter-of-fact.
The irony of it all didn't - especially in view of Assange's persistent cries for transparency at the podium time-and-time again - didn't escape Gibney's attention.
After a six-hour meeting was held to try to negotiate a deal to secure Assange's blessing for the project (his cooperation), it became evident to Gibney that he didn't need Assange in his corner to make the doc fly.
Through other sources, the filmmakers were able to secure spine-tingling footage to seamlessly weave in with their own, with the ultimate aim of uncovering the disturbing truth.
The well-crafted - at times, slick - documentary is a revelation.
Though documentaries are often a hard-sell when they are theatrically-released (WikiLeaks is slated to open in movie houses on Friday May 24th) I expect that because the Julian Assange tale was an International News Story of such great interest - that the documentary will attract large enthusiastic audiences anxious to gobble it all up.
"I thought this film was about a leaking machine, this new technology, and I thought it was about this silver surfer character Julian Assange, who had this great David and Goliath story," Gibney reflected over coffee recently.
"But in some ways it's a reflection of how important it is to constantly be examining what is true and what is not."
While some have lamented in recent days that Gibney's project is just a lot of propaganda, the verdict is still out.
It will be interesting to see how folks in mainstream America will respond to the tell-all once they have had the opportunity to screen it.