Heart Emergencies by Appointment at Mt. Sinai Hospital

A recent Bloomberg News article looked into why Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York did a very large number of heart procedures, making its cardiologists very well-paid. One reason, the journalists discovered, is that patients had been told to lie:

On a pair of representative Sundays in 2012, 10 patients told ER workers they’d been instructed to arrive there before their cath-lab appointments, according to internal hospital correspondence. Two of them said they’d been coached to say they were having acute symptoms of heart disease, according to the exchanges.

Even more remarkable, the journalists found, was that many patients had cardiology appointments before they showed up at the emergency room:

Certain patients who showed up at Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency room on Sunday mornings stood out [because] they already had appointments. Each was scheduled for a procedure at Mount Sinai’s catheterization lab, where cardiologists thread wires and tubes into blood vessels to detect disease and insert cardiac stents. The New York hospital’s cath lab has regularly scheduled such emergencies-by-appointment, according to three doctors and another medical professional, all of whom said they had direct knowledge of the practice.

Larry Husten, a medical columnist at Forbes, argues that this is an example of a widespread problem.

7 Responses to “Heart Emergencies by Appointment at Mt. Sinai Hospital”

  1. dearieme Says:

    I originally read “The New York hospital’s cath lab” as ‘cash lab’.

  2. Joe Says:

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Stents now comprise ~ 85% of coronary interventions. Drug-coated stents cause even more blood clots than the non-coated ones, but, of course, bring in even more money for the hospital.

    For the past 15 years or so (after all this expensive intervention), heart attack rates have remained relatively constant.

    First, do no harm?

    Nah.

    First, let’s make some money.

  3. Karen Says:

    I don’t see why this isn’t enough to send people to prison.

  4. Joe Says:

    Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau jailed for TEN YEARS as judge calls him an ‘uncontrollable huckster’ for selling fake weight loss tips
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2582977/TV-pitchman-Kevin-Trudeau-gets-10-year-sentence.html

    Question: What’s the difference between what Trudeau does and what a lot of BigMedicine and BigPharma do today? Stents (and other procedures, like tonsillectomies, Caesarian deliveries, etc.) that aren’t needed (or that actually cause harm), drugs that aren’t needed (or that actually cause harm), etc.

    I’m not aware of anyone losing his life because of Trudeau’s false claims. The same can’t be said of BigPharma and BigMedicine.

    They all defraud and con the public, but only Trudeau goes to prison? :(

    PS: Yes, I know the real reason is that Trudeau violated several court orders, but you know what I’m talking about.

  5. JM Says:

    Joe has a very good point – we have had Trudeau’s case plastered across the Chicago newspapers recently. Part of the problem is that Big Medicine and BigPharma has everyone convinced, from most of the doctors on down through nurses and to the average citizen that things like stents and drugs save lives. And most people, if told that they need one of these things, are too frightened to say no or even ask questions about alternatives because they are convinced they are going to die without them.

  6. Joe Says:

    I think I’ll throw in BigGov, too, for things like “The Food Pyramid,” “The Food Plate,” “You can keep your insurance company. Period.”, mass “swine flu” vaccinations, “global warming” hysteria, etc.

    Trudeau should have an awful lot of company in the dock, no?

  7. Robin Says:

    Wow another example of how the “health” system in the US is well and truly f*!%ed.