Monday, April 02, 2007

For Profit Hospitals and Emergencies

From the New York Times, via Symtym

"Some Hospitals Call 911 to Save Their Patients"

Should a hospital be able to handle a medical emergency?

The answer may seem self-evident. But patients at some hospitals may find the staff resorting to what someone might do at home in a crisis: call 911 for an ambulance.

That happened recently in Texas, where a 44-year-old man named Steve Spivey developed breathing problems after spine surgery. No physician was working there when the staff first recognized he was in trouble. They phoned 911, and he was taken to a nearby full-service hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The episode occurred at a small hospital that is owned and run by doctors — one of roughly 140 such hospitals around the country, with nearly two dozen more under development, that are set up to specialize in certain types of procedures like heart surgery, back operations and hip replacements.


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