MedSmarts

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Medical Greed’s Newest Poster Boys

Greed Before Need

The money's in surgery - needed or not

Surgery (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

If you’ve read Our Healthcare Sucks, you might think we’ve fully exhausted the examples of medical greed, unethical practices, and conflicts of interest in American medical practice.

But we’re not done YET.

And neither are our doctors, who keep inventing new and nefarious ways to separate you from your money.

“Gimme More, More, More…”

There’s a table of physician incomes in Our Healthcare Sucks. Topping the list are neurosurgeons – thanks to an absolute surge in unneeded spinal fusion surgeries that finance much of their inflated incomes.

Here they are with incomes of half a million to a million dollars a year and more and still they’re not satisfied.

An “enterprising” subset of them – mostly in southern states, according to an in-depth report in The Wall Street Journal – have started or invested in their own medical device companies. They then coerce their hospitals into buying implantable devices from their companies.scalpel cutting skin showing blood

This, of course, provides them with  added financial  incentive to perform often overly-aggressive surgeries on patients who don’t need them.

This has led to not just unnecessary surgeries, but unnecessary deaths by subjecting people who aren’t suitable for such surgeries to unnecessary risks.

Other neurosurgeons reviewed the medical records of some patients victimized by this medical chicanery. They found no basis for surgery of any kind – much less the often aggressive surgeries to which  these so-called “physician-entrepreneurs” subject their patients.

Physician Entrepreneurs or Predators?

These aren’t real entrepreneurs, of course, and I say this as a former entrepreneur myself.

Real entrepreneurs take financial risks in developing new products and services in an uncertain market for those products or services.

These guys are just “leveraging” their existing patients by advising them to undergo risky procedures to fatten their wallets.

They control the flow of patients – the demand for their products – and therefore take no financial risk whatsoever.

There’s a huge difference between true risk-based entrepreneurship and such risk-free and blatant profiteering at their patients’ expense.

There are those who see nothing unethical or otherwise wrong with such medical profiteering. But the families of those who died from overly aggressive and unnecessary surgeries like those described in The Wall  Street Journal story aren’t likely to be among them.

 Colossal Chutzpah

Consider the sheer audacity of such undertakings – the colossal chutzpah it takes to justify to oneself such furtive profiteering.

Oh, they have their side of the story – their own “spin” on it.

It goes along the lines of  “The big device companies don’t know as much as we do about what our patients really need…yada, yada, yada”.

What they’re REALLY saying is…”Is the queen this card or this card or THIS card? Oops…now they’ve moved…which card is it NOW?”

Such is the three-card monte that America’s healthcare system has become with card sharks like this in charge of our healthcare. And patients are increasingly their “marks” in this potentially deadly con.

Taking greed to such levels – literally risking your patients’ lives to enhance your income – is beyond narcissistic and repulsive; it’s downright creepy.

And it ought to be illegal

If you believe in heaven and hell, where do you think these guys are going?

And where do you think they SHOULD go?

Tell us what YOU think below…just keep it civil, courteous, and constructive.

Source: Taking Double Cut, Surgeons Implant Their Own Devices. The Wall Street Journal. 10/8-9/2011.

This article is provided for informational and educational purposes only.
It does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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