Wanna get angry, too? Here's the link. (Thank you, Andrew, for sending this in).
Stories like this aren't new. Since we invented money some people have always tried to find ways to rip others off.
But in health care it somehow seems worse. Nurses have done it, too. And pharmacists.
Why the hell would anyone do this? Especially after all the damn training we go through?
I'd like to think they're just stupid. It doesn't make it better, but it's somehow easier to accept than the more likely option: greed.
If the doctor keeps re-using the biopsy equipment, it's good for his overhead. He has to buy fewer supplies to do the same number of billable procedures. He may even be charging the insurance for a new kit each time he uses the old one.
The pharmacist knew what he was doing. Just greedy.
The nurse is a little less clear. Maybe she's just lazy. But who knows? Maybe she took the fall for a greedy hospital that secretly condoned such a practice. Maybe they were paying under-the-table bonuses to staff who found illicit ways to save money.
Regardless, ANY doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care person, who does ANYTHING for personal gain at the expense of a patient, should never be allowed to do this job again. These people come to us for care, and screwing them over for your profit line is absolutely unforgivable.
To me, this is worse than fraudulant billing (example: charging for taking off a mole when you really didn't). They're both wrong, but when you intentionally put it a patient in harm's way just to make a buck, you should be banned from medicine forever (provided you haven't already been locked up).
In medicine the prime directive is "do no harm". This is a balanced statement, because obviously we DO harm: Surgeons cut people open. Chemotherapy can make you horribly ill. I do procedures with needles. The issue is that in these cases we're doing harm with the overall end result being (hopefully) for the better.
But when you cross to the dark side, and knowingly hurt a person to make some extra dollars, you should be hung out to dry.
And if you're in this field, and disagree with that, then get out of it now.
Medical students: I'm a PGY-18. And some fires never go out. And I hope they never do.