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13 Bizarre Healthcare Stories

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2011

Healthcare is a huge profession, with millions of medical professionals serving hundreds of millions of people in every state, 24/7. It's a recipe for weird stories. We don't know what the new year will bring, but 2010 saw some jawdroppers.

In an effort to tap into a rich vein, we have cobbled together our second annual list of some of the weirdest stories in the healthcare realm over the past 12 months.

Some stories are funny. Some most definitely are not. Some, in fact, are tragic. And this list is by no means comprehensive. We feel it safe to say that no list of oddities in healthcare could be comprehensive. We're also not going to rank them, because we can't figure out criteria, other than weird, and that is highly subjective. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Bodacious Babes Hired to Woo Bone Marrow Donors
UMass Memorial Health Care CEO John O'Brien issued an apology in late December for the hospital's practice of using professional models as lures to recruit potential bone marrow donors.  In a memo to doctors and other members of the Worcester medical institution, O'Brien called the practice "an error in judgment' and said it had been discontinued. "Let me say right from the start that the use of professional models for marketing purposes here was not appropriate for an academic healthcare organization like ours, which holds itself to the highest standards,' O'Brien wrote. UMass Memorial has used the models, women dressed in short skirts and heels, to work booths at malls and public events in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island to solicit people to be tested for a potential life-saving bone marrow match. Investigators from Massachusetts and New Hampshire are looking into the practice, as well as whether UMass Memorial charged insurers high rates for testing the DNA samples and misled donors about the cost of DNA testing.

2. Hospital CEO Fired After Prostitution Sting
In another oddity from the Gopher State, David Cress, 60, was fired as president/CEO of North Memorial Health Care in Minneapolis after he was arrested on misdemeanor charges in September during a prostitution sting at a downtown hotel. Cress, a board member of the Minnesota Hospital Association, had been with the hospital since 1982 and became CEO in 2005. North Memorial Board Chairman Larry Taylow called the arrest "a troubling, personal situation."

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1 comments on "13 Bizarre Healthcare Stories"


usausa (1/13/2011 at 3:01 PM)
I personally knew a physician (30 years ago) who was ran out of 5 states for the improper administration of "chelation therapy" for arteriosclerosis, Medicare fraud and insurance fraud. When the IRS caught up with him he tried to run the 2 agents over with his car. Just because MD is behind their name doesn't mean they can't do really strange things!! Another physician rigged bombs in his own home and then forgot and exploded one himself! Must have been one of the first Alzheimer's patients!! LOL