Ailing Medical Foundation leader David Druker speaks about health care | July 16, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 16, 2010

Ailing Medical Foundation leader David Druker speaks about health care

Battling lung cancer, executive confronts his own future while discussing America's health care prospects

by Jay Thorwaldson

David Druker, president and CEO of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and a key architect of the nonprofit organization's expansion in the South Bay and coastal communities, is near death at his Los Altos Hills home following a battle of several years with lung cancer.

This story contains 1169 words.

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Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson worked with Dr. Druker at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation for more than 18 years. He can be e-mailed at


Like this comment
Posted by barbara
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2010 at 10:32 am

What a loss this will be to the community. I was a patient of his many years ago and have watched with great admiration all he has done for PAMF.

Like this comment
Posted by Leonorilda
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:15 am

Dr. Drucker did very much to establish the Palo Alto Medical Foundation as a caring place that reached out to the community. However, THAT kind of effort was in the past. Since PAMF affiliated with Sutter Health, the organization has been less interested in caring and responsive medical attention and increasingly more concerned about the $bottom line$. If the clinic ever had a sense of "social responsibility," the current administrators have long since lost any semblance of it. It is, indeed, sad that "Republican" values permeate the clinic's treatment of patients, sad as well that employeees there are allowed to create voice messages that espouse right-wing Christian ideologies, sad too that physicians are less responsive to patients' needs and way, way more responsive to making sure the clinic collects its bills. In spite of Dr. Drucker's "Republicanism," I do think that if he had ever examined the more recent day-to-day operations of the clinic, even he would be saddened by some of what happens there.

Like this comment
Posted by Louis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

I was Dave Druker's patient for over 25 years and regretted his promotion to President and CEO, since he was a such a caring and compassionate physician. Over that long a time, a patient and doctor become "friends." Dave's sense of humor made even the more difficult treatments easier.
His has been a life well spent!

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The following comments were moved from a duplicate thread:


Posted by Marilyn, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, 17 hours ago:

Dr. Druker is a great physician. He has always been so grounded, compassionate, and common sensical. The medical community needs more doctors like Dr. Druker.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 5 hours ago:

He is pessimistic about reform overall due to its complexity, cost and politics: "As a whole it is destined to fail," he said.

Then how does he suggest the U.S. provide health care to the 34 million uninsured?

Republicans who are so negative on the new health care initiative, do not seem to have any alternatives to suggest other than to neglect the poor and uninsured. At least Obama is trying to do something. Got any suggestions?

Like this comment
Posted by Right On "Resident"
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I am sorry for Dr Druker's illness, and applaud his speaking out at this stage in his life. But I was really surprised that he would say that obama's plan is bound to fail. The Republicans (of which he counts himself one) had 8 years to fix the rising cost of health care in this country. GDP spending is the highest in the OECD, millions have no decent health care including preventative care, and even the insured are denied care when it suits the insurance companies. And what did they do during that time? Nothing! Obama has the right idea, the right plan - and it could have been even better (universal care, including for undocumented people) save for the jealous, unconstructive obstructions from the other side of the aisle

Like this comment
Posted by donnie
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Sorry, but PAMF has provided me terrible care. The bare minimum with co-pays attached to everything.

Like this comment
Posted by Louis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Oh, yeah!
It doesn't matter if he's a Republican and I'm a Democrat. He's still a damned fine human being!

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I guess it is inevitable that some have had negative experiences at PAMC. I've had one really bad one (years ago), but have otherwise found people to be kind, attentive, and invested in quality care. A family member is currently being treated by a surgeon at the Mountain View center and he and his staff have been phenomenal. He takes lots of time to explain what's going on, what the options are, expected outcomes, etc. Couldn't ask for a better person and medical team.

Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2010 at 12:49 am

I second the above. You can have bad experiences everywhere. I can personally think of a few PAMF doctors who shouldn't be practicing medicine, but many, many more who are fantastic doctors.

PAMF is really breaking ground by cutting through a lot of the non-care-related barriers to getting healthcare. Their urgent care centers allow you to be evaluated for urgent problems in that no-man's-land between the doctor's office and the emergency room.

The billing system has become so streamlined and humane compared to other providers, I will often choose a PAMF physician or bloodwork because I know I won't have to deal with the horrible paperwork from some other provider.

It is so incredibly helpful, too, that all doctors have access to your medical record and tests digitally, and you don't have a full-time job just getting an x-ray from one place to another. Again, another reason to choose PAMF, all other things equal.

I'm not sure what to think of the merger with Sutter or what the other poster thought of it above. I have had terrible experiences with Sutter in the past that echo the above poster's opinion. But given the developments with PAMF of late, am wondering if things haven't changed.

No human being is perfect, and no leadership will result in perfect outcomes. But Dr. Druker has definitely done great things for our community. Thank you, sir. Wishing you miracles of body, and if that fails, miracles of spirit.

Like this comment
Posted by Nan
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Dr. Druker was also my physician when I was young, and I am heartbroken for his family at his passing. He truly was one of the warmest, most caring doctors I have ever met. His patients were not just his patients, but people that he truly cared about. He always wanted to know how our lives were going and he always had a kind or encouraging word and a smile or a hug. His was a life well-lived.

Like this comment
Posted by Great and wise man, listen to him
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 27, 2010 at 7:33 am

What a man of courage. Knowing he was going to be competely dissed for his comments ( with which I agree), he said them anyway.

He spent his entire life in medicine, watching an ever growing disaster come from government intervention in "mandated" aspects of health insurance, and government run Medicare and Medicaid.

But, you know, all you socialized medicine leftists who have never had a business, let alone practiced in medicine for the last 50 years in our system, know so much more than he does and can feel free to dismiss his concerns because he was one of those "Republicans". For goodness' sake, don't actually open your minds and listen to a dying man's opinions from a lifetime of medical work!

Those "34 million uninsured" numbers have been completely debunked as valid, by the way, and of those 12 million or so left who ARE validly inappropriately uninsured, there was an easy fix for them..but the Democrats simply wanted more control over 1/7th of the economy, our bodies and our lives, so they didn't care about real solutions.

The Repubs didn't fix the system either..they lost their spine when every time they floated a real solution balloon, the leftists in the Repub party, every Democrat and all the media denounced them. They knew what not to waste energy on doing.

Like this comment
Posted by One Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

We've had wonderful care at PAMF for many years. Our only problem was with Pediatrics, where all doctors are programmed to imagine you've brought your child with the sole aim of nabbing a prescription for antibiotics. Any parent with a cursory acquaintance with good health care knows they are to be avoided unless necessary - not only will they NOT WORK if they aren't needed, but they become LESS EFFECTIVE when misused. After years of trying to convince sundry Pediatricians that I wanted them to diagnose the cause of my children's endless congestion we switched to Family Practice. They immediately sent us to an allergy specialist, who solved the problem. I'm sorry to hear of Dr. Druker's illness and his unfortunate political views. He's just the sort of man who, when he gets behind an idea, it has a far better chance of success.

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Posted by Great and wise man, listen to him
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 30, 2010 at 7:34 pm

One Parent; "unfortunate" political views? Good grief, what a silly thing to say. How can you say "unfortunate" political views regarding his opinion that we were in the process of dismantling what is great in our medical care with this bill?

I say we are ruled by "unfortunate" political views right now, "unfortunately" because..well, talk to any physician in Canada or France who has also practiced here and so can compare.., and you will get an earful.

Dr. Druker knew what he was talking about. Pity we didn't listen.

But, oh well, here we are. Your children will not thank you for your unfortunate views on politicizing medical practice.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.