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Tenet Tangling With Past Excesses

To Tenet (THC - Get Report), Cecil Josefsson is little more than civil case No. 147273.

The lawsuit, filed by Josefsson's only child, is one of hundreds pending against the company in a rural California town that made its name as a great place to fly-fish. But that town, a community of 85,000 known as Redding, is now associated with more than giant salmon and steelhead trout. It is the place where more than 1,000 people may have undergone unnecessary -- and sometimes even fatal -- heart surgeries at Tenet's Redding Medical Center.

Attorneys estimate that cases like Josefsson's could wind up costing cash-strapped Tenet $1 million apiece. Josefsson's medical records, which spill over from file to bulging file, already document a heart surgery that's being challenged by outside experts. The records also note the complications that finally ended Josefsson's life. They even include a $1.9 million hospital bill that, for Tenet, translates into revenue of less than half a penny a share.

But the records omit plenty. They never show Josefsson howling at the Nazis he conquered as a brave teenager. They fail to capture all the terror and agony -- barely muted by Tenet's marked-up $190 pain pills -- that engulfed Josefsson near the end.

Julie Inouye, a physician's wife who has crusaded against Tenet's practices on both sides of the country, predicts even more pain to come.

"This is not a story about stocks and bonds," Inouye said of Tenet, without referring to the Josefsson case. "This is a story about human beings. It is a story about life and death."

Underground Fighter

"I guess I was a child until ... I used my revolver the first time," Josefsson told the Shoah Foundation in a documentary about World War II survivors five years ago. "This changed my life completely, as far as my own thinking."

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