There were two reports recently of faked or falsified reports that caused patients to lose their lives. The first was in Georgia where a technician “cleared” 1300 mammograms as normal even though some of them had cancerous masses. Why did she do this? Here is what the article said:
She told police she had personal issues that caused her to stop caring about her job, that she had fallen behind processing the piles of mammogram films that stacked up. So she went into the hospital’s computer system, assumed the identities of physicians, and gave each patient a clear reading, an investigative report says. That allowed her to avoid the time-consuming paperwork required before the films are brought to a reading room for radiologists to examine.
The other case involves a VA hospital in Phoenix where a whistleblower alleges that as many as 40 veterans died amid lengthy waits for appointments. Why would they do this? Here is what the WSJ article said:
Veterans were being forced to wait some six weeks on a shadow electronic waiting list before being given an actual appointment—in an attempt to make the appointment wait times seem short.
“Sure, when their appointment is created, it’s [sic] can be 14 days out, but we’re making them wait 6-20 weeks to create that appointment,” said the employee email, dated July 3, 2013. “That is unethical and a disservice to our Veterans.”
Both of these cases are disgusting. There are NO excuses for the radiology technician nor the VA hospital. They deserve all the punishment that gets meted out to them. But that’s not my point. Today’s healthcare system pushes people to falsify. In the never-ending quest to fulfill unproven metrics and quality indicators, the pressure mounts for people to do stupid things. You possibly just saw two of them. You will see more. And more people will die from it.