Updated on: 1/24/2019
A former nurse at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, FL has successfully reported potential healthcare fraud for unnecessary medical procedures to the ethics department of his former employer, prompting an investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.
According to reports, 60-year-old Registered Nurse C.T. Tomlinson worked for Lawnwood for approximately eight months from 2007 to 2008. Tomlinson claims he witnessed a doctor, Dr. Abdul Shadani, insert heart stents into patients when it was not necessary.
Tomlinson reportedly wrote a letter to the chief ethics officer for HCA Healthcare, the parent company of Lawnwood, informing him of what he had witnessed, believing that it was inappropriate and putting patients’ lives at risk.
“It bothered me,” Tomlinson said in an interview with the New York Times. “I’m a registered nurse. I care about my patients.”
Less than two months after Tomlinson submitted the letter, an internal investigation performed by HCA Healthcare confirmed the nurse’s beliefs. A confidential memo written by HCA ethics officer Stephen Johnson stated “the allegations related to unnecessary procedures being performed in the cath lab are substantiated.”
Further internal investigation found that HCA, which is the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States with 163 total locations, was aware of evidence from between 2002 and late 2010 that showed several of its employees had no explanation for many of the cardiac procedures that they were performing on patients.
After Tomlinson witnessed Shadani’s questionable actions, the nurse alerted a supervisor who told him to forget about the incident, which prompted him to request a meeting with the ethics officer at Lawnwood. A month after that, Tomlinson’s contract was up and his employment status was not renewed, a common form of employer retaliation, which is illegal, for his attempts to report the abuse.
The investigation into the company’s policies and procedures is ongoing, and there has been no information regarding reimbursement or reprimand for the hospital or its employees.
Healthcare Fraud Attorneys in Seattle
If you were the victim of unnecessary medical practices, or if you have witnessed any form of healthcare fraud, you may have a legal claim against the negligent party. Contact the attorneys at the Davis Law Group by calling 206-727-4000 to meet with an attorney and discuss your options.