Intended for healthcare professionals


US hospital is accused of keeping vegetative patient alive to boost its transplant survival rate

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 14 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6033
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal, Canada

Federal agents are investigating a New Jersey hospital accused of keeping a patient with catastrophic brain damage alive for a year and barely consulting his family, in order to keep its one year transplantation survival rate from falling to a level where the programme’s Medicare certification might be withdrawn.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has its own law enforcement agency, will lead the investigation into Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. The hospital has launched its own internal probe.

The allegations were raised by public interest watchdog ProPublica, which says it has recordings of meetings at which Beth Israel doctors discussed the fate of patient Darryl Young. Young, who is 61 years old, has been in a vegetative state since receiving a new heart on 21 September 2018, …

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