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Anorexia Patients Sue Dallas' Presbyterian Hospital

Five women who were treated at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for anorexia and bulimia have filed a lawsuit claiming that the hospital and doctors there took part in a fraudulent billing scheme designed to profit from the women's problems.

According to the complaint filed today in Dallas state district court, each woman was a patient in Presbyterian's Eating Disorder Program. There, psychiatrist Dr. Urszula Kelley evaluated the women and ordered cardiac testing through a medical group specializing in pediatric cardiology.

In turn, Dr. Damaris Young Wright, working on behalf of Dallas-based Texas Pediatric Cardiology Associates and Sunrise, Fla.-based Pediatrix, allegedly told each woman that her eating disorder had caused damage to her heart, that she should restrict all activity and return for further tests.

Based on these evaluations, some of the women quit school or stopped working. The plaintiffs eventually learned that they actually didn't have any heart damage, let alone damage that should prevent them from participating in these or other activities.

'This was a medical-billing boiler room scheme, plain and simple', says Marty Rose of Rose Walker, L.L.P., in Dallas, an attorney for the plaintiffs. 'It's as if they walked in with a sprained ankle and the doctor told them they needed expensive back surgery. They used the doctor-patient relationship to sell medical services these women didn't need'.

Rose says the use of a pediatric cardiologist was central to the scheme. By comparing the women's tests to normal levels of heart function established for children instead of adults, the doctors were able to interpret the results in a manner that convinced the women they had heart problems.

'It's important to note that this is not a case about patient care', Rose adds. 'This is about how the hospital and its doctors set up a scheme so that they could bilk these women and their insura
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