Report: The Largest Hospital Chain In The Country Regularly Gave Unnecessary Treatment To Patients

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Photo: Flickr / boliston

Earlier today, The Hospital Corporation of America issued an unusual statement pre-butting regarding a pending New York Times story on the hospital’s business practices.This evening, the Times published the piece.

Reported by Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell, the report suggests that HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, regularly ordered patients to undergo treatment that many experts would consider unnecessary.

Here’s one case they cite:

“At Bayonet Point [a hospital near Tampa Bay, Fla.], a 44-year-old man who arrived at the emergency room complaining of chest pain suffered a punctured blood vessel and a near-fatal irregular heartbeat after a doctor performed a procedure that an outside expert later suggested might have been unnecessary, documents show. The man had to be revived. “They shocked him twice and got him back,” according to the testimony of Dr. Aaron Kugelmass in a medical hearing on the case.”

The story emerged from a whistleblower complaint from a nurse at one of HCA’s hospitals warning patients were being over-treated. A subsequent internal investigation by HCA corroborated her claims, but the nurse was subsequently fired.

Earlier today, Reuters reported the Justice Department had begun an inquiry into heart procedures performed at 95 HCA.

HCA’s stock was down as much as 10 per cent today on both reports.

In their statement from today, HCA denied any wrongdoing.

Click here to read the full report on NYTimes.com

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