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Why Would Hospitals Perform Unnecessary Surgeries? HCA Can Tell You Why

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A whistleblower nurse prevented more catastrophes when he wrote the chief of ethics officer at the hospital corporate giant HCA. According to the nurse, disturbing practices occurred while he was working at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, Florida, which is one of HCA's hospitals. According to the nurse, Mr. C. T. Tomlinson, the doctor working above him was performing unnecessary heart procedures on his patients, putting their lives at risk. But this wasn't the only problem at HCA.

Unfortunately, Mr. Tomlinson's contract was not renewed, which he attributes to his whistleblowing even though HCA conducted their own investigation and indeed confirm his claims that the doctor was performing unnecessary heart surgeries. But Mr. Tomlinson's evidence wasn't the only damning evidence against HCA–internal and external documents revealed that there was more than one or two rogue doctors conducting unnecessary heart procedures, although internal documents did not document the frequency or number of injuries that resulted. Examples of unnecessary procedures include cardiac catheterization on patients without heart disease and a 44-year-old man who came to the ER complaining of chest pain and a severely irregular heartbeat after undergoing an unnecessary heart procedure. All of these unnecessary procedures equated to high costs and soaring profits for HCA.

HCA is the largest not-for-profit hospital in the U.S. and has 163 facilities. Uncovered evidence suggests that unnecessary procedures were occuring as early as 2002 and as recently as 2010. Doctors sometimes lied in medical reports to justify the necessity of the heart procedures they performed. HCA already paid a large Medicare fraud settlement to the Justice Department in 2000 totaling $1.7 billion in fines and repayments primarily for overbilling, but it looks as if their bad behavior hasn't ended.

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  1. jc says:
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    There Davy goes again – -rogue docs performing unnecessary heart procedures – -cardiac caths without heart disease! Reported by a nurse who was fired- -what a reliable source! O.K., you can have cardiac risk factors, you can have chest pain, you can have a positive stress cardiolyte scan and have a cardiac cath to investigate this problem and the cardiac catherization is normal! I have seen that happen lots of times and that is part of medical practice. Only in Davy Mittleman’s weird sense of justice is this wrong or fraud. It is grossly unjust for Davy to take some fired nurse word on one or two normal cardiac catherizations and insinuate that is fraud. A percentage of cardiac caths will be normal and that is expected! If all the cardiac caths that a cardiologist does are normal, well there is a problem. But that problem would have been investigated by the PEER review committee in the hospital and would be protected by PEER review activity and no nurse would have that information so Davy Mittleman is presenting patently false information. Shame on you Dave Mittleman!