How hospital rankings may deny sick patients cardiac care

This was entirely predictable.

Public reporting of hospital death rates (via Dr. Wes) is pushing institutions like Massachusetts General Hospital to “modify” who to place cardiac stents in.

Previously, the hospital prided themselves in performing heart procedures in the “sickest of the sick,” but now, with reputations on the line, they may deny the chance that a sick patient, or someone with cancer, would receive a potentially life-saving procedure.

On a macro level, some are saying that’s precisely the point, since “doing procedures on patients with scant hope of recovery wastes money and exposes them to unnecessary care and pain.”

And that may be true. But try telling that to a patient’s family and loved ones, where they are now likely to be denied that small chance to live after a heart attack, all because of the pressure generated from public reporting of these hospital rankings.

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