For more than a quarter of a century, Deane Hillsman was the conscience of the UAPD. Whenever a physician whistleblower got into trouble for telling the truth about an important medical issue, Dr. Hillsman would stand up to support the doctor regardless of how powerful the adversary may be.
Early in his career as a private practice pulmonologist in Sacramento, Dr. Hillsman became a whistleblower. He paid a heavy price for supporting his patients. His hospital retaliated against his medical staff privileges. It took years for Dr. Hillsman’s legal actions to wind their way through the courts, but he won a total victory. His own case made him realize how difficult it was for an individual doctor to fight the system. He became an early supporter of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
His union colleagues soon recognized the leadership ability of this soft spoken man and elected him as a UAPD executive board member and then as the union’s Secretary. In his role as the chairman of the UAPD Due Process Committee, he supported the rights of union members in every work setting. He never missed a union board meeting, and he always spoke up passionately for union members who had been mistreated by their hospitals or management. Dozens of doctors won their cases and saved their careers because of the skillful advocacy of Dr. Hillsman and the UAPD.
Dr. Deane Hillsman was a patient and careful man who cared greatly about fairness and justice. He died last week. He was 81 years old.