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Hospital fined $32K for unneeded surgeries

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The state Health Department has fined Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills $32,000 for what were termed “cavalier actions” by two doctors resulting in unnecessary prostate surgery on 12 nursing home patients, some of whom appeared incapable of giving consent to the operations.

The New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct revoked the license of one doctor and suspended the license of the other for practicing fraudulently and willfully filing a false report.

“This is the final chapter in this case,” said Dr. Antonia Novello, state health commissioner. “New York state will not tolerate cavalier actions as the ones taken by the two doctors in this case.”

After an investigation the Health Department found that 12 men from the Leben Home for Adults in Elmhurst had been admitted to Parkway Hospital in 1998 and were subjected to prostate surgery without their consent.

“The doctors’ knowing efforts to deceive the very patients entrusted in their care is unconscionable and the failure to respond swiftly and appropriately after receiving staff complaints about the unnecessary surgeries is gross negligence of the worst kind,” Novello said in a statement.

She said the patients were admitted to the hospital from the Leben Home with invalid consent forms on a Thursday, operated on, stayed in the hospital over a weekend and transferred back to Leben the following week without any prior history of illness to require the kind of surgery performed.

Parkway was cited for 16 violations of the state hospital code and fined $32,000, the highest allowed by law.

Novello had suspended the operating license of the Leben Home for Adults at 80-08 45th Ave. and ordered MediSys Health Network Inc., a non-profit unit that operates Jamaica Hospital, installed as temporary operator of Leben Home.

The Health Department said Parkway Hospital at 138-44 Queens Blvd. failed to prevent or act on unnecessary prostate surgery despite complaints from the hospital staff about the propriety of such surgery.

“Patients arrived with signed consent forms executed at the Leben Home even before they were evaluated by the doctor in his office and some of the patients did not know why they were hospitalized and did not appear able to provide informed consent,” the Heath Department said.

Parkway Hospital will be required to submit a plan explaining how each of the deficiencies the state health department discovered is to be addressed and ways it will insure nothing like it happens again.

The hospital will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the Health Department for a year giving details of corrective actions along with an assessment of the effectiveness of such measures.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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