A surgeon at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital cut a hole in Earl Nattee’s throat on Jan. 3, the day before he died. It’s not clear why.
The medical file contained no explanation of the need for the procedure, called a tracheotomy, according to a state and federal inspection report that quotes Sacred Heart’s chief nursing officer as saying it happened “out of the blue.”Tracheotomies are typically used to open an air passage directly to the windpipe for patients who can’t breathe otherwise.
Now, amid a federal investigation into allegations of unneeded tracheotomies at the hospital, Nattee’s daughter, Antoinette Hayes, wonders whether her father was a pawn in what an FBI agent called a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.
“My daddy said, ‘They’re killing me,’” Hayes recalled, in reference to the care he received at the hospital.
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