NYC's Health & Hospitals Corp. faces charges of medical record cover-ups

About a year ago, we reported how a woman waiting for psychiatric care in the lobby of one of the public hospitals run by the New York's Health & Hospitals Corp. fell on the floor and was allowed to die, ignored by staff. HHC has since apologized for the terrible incident and vowed to clean up its act.

However, an investigation by the New York Daily News suggests that the public health system faces many other nasty problems with documentation and coordination of care, issues that aren't getting as much attention as the unfortunate death of Esmin Green.

A new investigation by the Daily News found discrepancies and false entries in hospital records at various city-run hospitals, including records lacking key information, or records that were completely missing. State investigators issued 16 citations between 2004 and September 2008 for complete, altered or missing medical records, including records apparently faked to cover mistakes, the Daily News investigation concluded.

Questionable records included a report listing a psychiatrist performing surgery, faked entries suggesting that a patient's arm had been examined when it was dying and eventually needed to be amputated, and lost medical records that made it impossible for officials to review the care a woman's stillborn infant received.

In another case, one of the HHC hospitals ended up apparently letting a 3-month-old infant die after several violations of protocol, including letting residents examine the critical infant without direct supervision, failing to inform the attending physician what they had recommended until eight hours later, failing to contact the pediatric heart specialist until several hours later and transferring the child far too late in its illness for it be saved.

To find out more about this issue:
- read this New York Daily News piece

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