Health Care News & Discussion
07/04/1999 2:12 PM
Hospitals are doing what we call PEER REVIEW, where doctors reviews each other records to make sure everyone is giving appropriate care. PEER REVIEW works fine much of the time. But in recent years, it has been subject to considerable abuse. Some have estimated that in some hospitals up to 70 percent of the reviews are by hospital doctors who review the private doctors in order to get them off the staff of the hospital. It’s amazing that the reverse never works.
A private doctor was reviewing a hospital doctor’s records that had been selected for review because of some red flag, such as an unexpected death. The private doctor noted that this medical director of a hospital department had misdiagnosed a serious heart failure patient as having pneumonia. It was all quite clear from the history, examination, and x-ray reports.
After making the wrong diagnosis, he then stuck a needle in the chest on the left side to remove what he thought would be pus rather than heart failure fluid. The patient was on life support with the ventilator moving his lungs up and down. To put the needle in one has the patient hold his breath, or if he’s on a machine, you remove him from the machine and breath him manually and hold his breath by holding the bag and doing the tap quickly. This hospital medical director forgot to do this and ripped the lung and the spleen beneath causing prompt death.
The private reviewing doctor noted a discrepancy in the coding of the chart and the records librarian mentioned that the hospital doctor forced her to make this change. She felt guilty about what she considered a cover up. After this was written up, the hospital continued to cover up what would otherwise be considered a felony… So if you’re a favorite of the hospital, killing a patient may be OK. If you’re not a hospital favorite, you may lose your license even if you’re one of 70 percent of such cases with good care.