We certainly hope our physicians make the right decision, and there is a lot to say for “quality of life” by all means, but this article discusses how hospitals and doctors are rated, and obviously the ones who take great care with working with some of the most difficult situations, in other words perhaps taking over where a patient has been referred as it is a tough case, may end up looking worse if a certain number of patients are not surviving.
Physicians have a lot of information flowing their way today, outside the realm of patient care that they are responsible for, and most that I know simply tune out a lot of this when it comes to patient care, thank goodness and that’s the type of doctor I want, but none the less it shows up later with statistics and reports and evaluation processes, whereby they have to justify their decision making processes, or have the potential of losing incentive pay or being listed on the web as not having a good success rate with survival. If so many hospitals were not in the crisis stage with funds and revenue, this would probably not be as much of an issue. BD
Public reporting of hospital death rates may be pushing Massachusetts cardiac specialists to treat some very sick heart patients less aggressively, sparking a debate among health officials and doctors over whether patients are being spared unnecessary and costly end-of-life treatment or denied procedures that might save their lives.
The disagreement has intensified since state health officials recently flagged Massachusetts General Hospital and Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester for having higher-than-average death rates in heart patients receiving artery-opening stents, a procedure called angioplasty.
"Physicians are really struggling with this issue," said Dr. Frederic Resnic, director of cardiac catheterization at Brigham and Women's Hospital and lead author of a study suggesting that fewer high-risk patients are getting angioplasty since public reporting began in 2003. "There is a terrible conflict between the desire to do what's right for a specific patient who has a very slim chance of survival, and the impact on the [doctor] and their center if it doesn't work out."