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TheStreet Open House

Tenet Tangling With Past Excesses

To Tenet (THC), 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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