Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Redding, California. Northern lip of the Sacramento Valley. A pair of prominent cardiologists (Dr. Chae Hyun Moon and heart surgeon Fidel Realyvasquez, Jr.) and the hospital they worked out of have been sued: It is alleged that these doctors promoted cardiac surgery in cases where invasive procedures were apparently not necessary.
Aside from the cost to individuals in terms of dollars and suffering, this story takes on a unique dimension in that the corporate mentality now pervading the practice of medicine is being closely scrutinized in courthouses as individuals come forward with claims that they were operated on needlessly. Further, in November 2002, these allegations sparked a full scale FBI probe, as investigators began examining case files for Medicare fraud.
In blunt terms, we are talking about knives cutting into and maiming perfectly healthy flesh, surgery used as a means to bill Medicare and shake down the fruit from patient insurance policies. It was reported by the Sacramento Bee on June 5, 2003 that 700 heart surgeries a year (or an average of just under two procedures per day) were performed at Redding Medical Center prior to the FBI commencing its investigation. Many questions remain as litigators begin to sift through these dark and dirty swamps: I personally wonder just how this pair come to be regarded as the authority on cardiac care in this region of Northern California? Just what were the dynamics that led this to happen? According to the facts that have surfaced in various media reports, this appears to me to be about business. Dollars and cents. Bottom line first.
Surgery on healthy individuals. If the evidence does indeed corroborate the allegations, then it would be hard to argue against labeling this as a crime against the morality of the conscience, absolutely justifying the attention of both the criminal and civil court system.
Answers are indeed warranted. Don’t let them cut away your voice; instead, continue to research this topic on your own behalf. Take responsibility for yourself. Ask questions incessantly.