When we hear about health care fraud and Medicare scams, we tend to think of all the money lost as a result of the illegal activities. But health care fraud and Medicare scams also put the lives of patients at risk, as well. And that’s just what happened at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital when countless patients were put at risk as a result of an alleged Medicare scam that involved unnecessary medical treatments.
To date, seven individuals – including Sacred Heart’s owner, a high-level executive, and five doctors – have been charged in connection with an alleged kickback and Medicare fraud scheme that allegedly consisted of illegal kickbacks for Medicare/Medicaid patient referrals and unnecessary medical treatments. For example, as this article explains, one of the hospital’s pulmonologists is accused of performing a high number of intubations that were prolonged through heavy sedation so that the patients could not breathe on their own, which thereby necessitated tracheotomies.
Patient Risks Associated with Unnecessary Medical Treatments or Procedures
Unnecessary medical treatment may occur for a number of reasons, including health care fraud, surgical error, or diagnostic malpractice. For instance, a doctor may misdiagnose a patient’s medical condition or the severity of a medical condition, and perform an unnecessary medical produced as a result. In other cases, a doctor or hospital may perform unnecessary medical procedures in order to obtain illegal kickbacks or bill the Medicare or Medicaid system for the unnecessary medical procedures, like the allegations currently pending against Sacred Heart Hospital, its executives, and doctors.
Unnecessary medical treatments and procedures, like tracheotomies, MRIs, and surgeries, can exacerbate medical conditions, create new medical risks, and can even result in death. For instance, unnecessary surgery can place a patient at significant risk of infection or anesthesia complications. Unnecessary MRIs can subject a patient to even more invasive medical procedures, and unnecessary tracheotomies can cause severe bleeding, damage to the voice box or esophagus, windpipe damage, bacterial infections, and the inability of the tracheotomy opening to close.
How to Protect Yourself against Unnecessary Medical Procedures
It is important that patients remain vigilant and proactive about their medical care. It is highly recommended that patients obtain a second opinion before undergoing an invasive procedure, unless an emergency situation requires immediate treatment.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an unnecessary medical procedure, like the unnecessary tracheotomies that were allegedly performed at Sacred Heart Hospital, it is highly recommended that you consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney. The Chicago medical malpractice law firm of Ankin Law Office, LLC focuses on protecting the legal rights and interests of medical malpractice victims, including the victims of unnecessary medical procedures. We will help you obtain corrective medical treatment and vigorously advocate on your behalf to get you the financial recovery that you deserve.
Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago unnecessary medical treatment attorneys.