Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center suspended its heart transplant program and two physicians after reviews by the hospital and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) indicated documentation may not have supported patients' urgent-status listing. Transplant surgeon Charles Canver and Lawrence Zisman, director of the 576-bed hospital's heart failure program, were suspended late Friday. UNOS notified the hospital of its findings Sept. 25 based on a review of medical records for 45 patients categorized as 1A, the most urgent status, from January 2001 through March 2003. The hospital subsequently launched an internal review. Documentation did not support patients' 1A status in the "vast majority" of cases, hospital spokesman Greg McGarry said. The UNOS review was not focused on quality issues, hospital officials said. "We have taken this action because we cannot and will not tolerate any activity that could jeopardize the integrity of any program relating to the delivery of healthcare," hospital President and CEO James Barba said in a written statement. Barba said a medical staff committee would conduct an in-depth investigation. The hospital has notified UNOS and the state health department of its action and is arranging for transplant patients to receive care elsewhere, officials said. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Hospital halts heart transplants over ethics issues
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