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Did unnecessary hospital procedures put patients' lives at risk?

We depend on our doctors and health care practitioners to use best practices and good judgment. We count on hospitals and healthcare facilities to have standards of practice in place that provide consistent care with the goal of decreasing instances of improper care, medical malpractice, misdiagnoses and unnecessary procedures. However, sometimes in their overzealousness, doctors may utilize treatments that are unnecessary and actually harm the patient leading to medical malpractice.  

A 2010 investigation into the HCA chain of hospitals, provoked by a letter from a hospital nurse, revealed that unnecessary cardiac procedures were being performed at an HCA hospital in Florida. The incident was brought to the attention of the hospital's chief ethics officer in the summer of 2010 and the allegations were substantiated just two months later. It was further discovered that unnecessary procedures were being performed at other HCA hospitals, which drove up costs and resulted in more profit.

Questions regarding the necessity of medical procedures in the field of cardiology are not uncommon. However, the investigation revealed that there were more than just a couple of doctors at HCA hospitals performing unnecessary procedures. It was reported by a confidential review that 1,200 catheterization procedures were determined to have been performed on patients without significant heart disease, and two patients reportedly suffered near fatal events as a result of a questionable cardiac procedure.

Inappropriate and unnecessary medical treatments may cause suffering, disability, injury and death. It is important to protect your rights if you have been the victim of medical malpractice.


Source: The New York Times, "Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work," Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell, Aug. 6, 2012

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