Could this printer-toner cartridge be the key to millions?
Printer-toner cartridges are expensive, can be a pain to replace and offer a potential source of riches if you’re willing to break the law.
New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center learned that lesson thanks to Marque Gumbs, a former receiving clerk who pleaded guilty July 26 to grand larceny for embezzling $1.2 million from the hospital through excessive toner orders, as reported by the Associated Press.
Gumbs got the money by ordering printer toner, stealing it and then reselling it, presumably to representatives of what apparently is a thriving black market in toner. Haven’t seen that in a Martin Scorsese movie. Authorities say Gumbs had delivery drivers meet him and give him the supplies on the street, then resold them and pocketed the cash.
Gumbs was fired after his November arrest, and the 33-year-old expects to be sentenced Aug. 8 to 2 ½ to 7 ½ years in prison. He’ll also have to give up proceeds from selling a BMW SUV, a diamond Rolex watch, Vuitton bags and other pricey items.
The hospital declined to comment.
Getting stiffed on the bill
Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital has filed a $9.2 million claim against the estate of a woman who died after spending five years in the hospital, according to Hillsborough County court documents cited in an Associated Press article.
In court documents, that’s how much the hospital says it is owed for the care of Tameka Jaqway Campbell. She died at age 29 two years ago of progressive demyelinating neuropathy, which occurs when the immune cells attack the body’s nerves.
Campbell’s mother believes the steep bill is intended to prevent her from filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the hospital. The hospital declined to comment to the AP.
It’s unclear whether the $9.2 million in hospital charges is a record. The American Hospital Association, the Health Care Financial Management Association and numerous others did not know of anyone who keeps track of such things.
“That would have to be the biggest bill I’ve heard of,” said Alan Levine, a division president at the Naples, Fla.-based hospital chain Health Management Associates. “I’ve seen more than $1 million,” he said. “But not $9 million.”
Wait a second, isn’t that your job?
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created by Congress as part of healthcare reform, recently announced it was asking the public for help in defining “patient-centered outcomes research.”
One could assume that such an institute could at least define the type of research they do, but officials there say the call for help is a sign they’re going above and beyond the call of duty, as opposed to the slacking off that it might appear to be at first glance. The organization was created to help patients and those who care for them make informed health decisions.
“Defining patient-centered outcomes research is foundational work for PCORI,” said Dr. Eugene Washington, chairman of the PCORI board and vice chancellor of health sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a statement. “Soliciting input on the definition goes beyond PCORI’s statutory requirements and demonstrates our commitment to patient and stakeholder involvement throughout our work.”
OK, but if the National Institutes of Health starts asking for help defining health, it’s time to get worried.
Be prepared … to operate
A surgeon might shy away from describing robotic surgery as “awesome,” but it didn’t stop a 13-year-old Boy Scout from saying it after he learned last week about robot-assisted surgery at a Texas hospital.
“This was the most awesome thing I’ve ever done for a merit badge,” Alex Aiken said, according to a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Boy Scouts in Texas get to experience firsthand how “awesome” it is to work with instruments for robotic surgery. Plano news release.
The Boy Scouts troop visited the hospital, including an operating room, to earn one component of their robotics merit badges, which require each scout to understand how robots move, sense the environment and understand what to do. The hospital said the eight boys, who are all 11 to 15 years old, each got to try holding the instruments for the surgical robot and handling the remote command center.
Thankfully, there was no robotic revolt along the lines of those seen in “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “The Matrix.”
“It was really, really, really, really cool,” Aiken said.