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HCA Internal Report Revealed Unnecessary Cardiac Work Ordered in Its Florida Hospitals

Posted on August 8, 2012

In the summer of 2010, a nurse at Lawnwood Regional Hospital was so disturbed by what he saw going on at the small Fort Pierce hospital he wrote a letter that eventually reached the desk of the chief ethics officer at the for-profit hospital giant HCA — the company that owns Lawnwood.

In a follow-up interview, he claimed that a doctor at the hospital was doing heart procedures on patients who didn’t need them, putting their lives in unnecessary danger.

According to the New York Times, it didn’t take long for HCA ethics officials to substantiate the allegations — less than two months, to be exact.

According to a 2010 HCA internal review, it was determined that some 1,200 invasive diagnostic tests called “cardiac catheterizations” were done on patients who showed no significant signs of heart disease — and that was at Lawnwood alone.

It looks to be the tip of the iceberg.

HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., found that from 2002 to 2010, cardiologists at several of its hospitals in Florida could not justify the cardiac procedures they had ordered. HCA internal reports also revealed that some doctors even went so far as to make misleading statements on medical records to make it appear that the procedures were necessary, the Times report alleges.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has requested information on reviews done at 10 HCA hospitals. All but two or three of those hospitals are located in Florida.

According to the Times, HCA has declined to show if they had ever notified patients who might have been entitled to compensation for an injury resulting from the profitable, but unnecessary, cardiac procedures.

For the full New York Times story, click here.

The Florida hospital malpractice lawyers at Farah & Farah will be keeping close tabs on this story as it develops. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical fraud or have been injured by a medical procedure in a hospital, call us at (800) 533-3555 for a review of your case. The call and the consultation are confidential and free.