By Jenna Susko and Amy Corral

It’s no secret that celebrities get the best tables at restaurants and the royal welcome at shops and hotels. But several patients and insiders tell the I-Team that hospitals are giving the “rich and famous” preferential treatment as well, and claim it could impact your medical care at the most critical times.

“There were a number of experiences that I had over time where it sort of raised the hair on the back of my neck,” said Robert Pedowitz, former chairman of UCLA’s orthopedic surgery department. “The ethics of it would suggest that every person who’s at the medical center deserves the same access, the same treatment and the same protocols, so it is not fair.”

Pedowitz filed an unrelated whistleblower lawsuit against UCLA, and received a $10 million settlement.

Robert Baskin says his wife Yolanda was forced to wait for emergency treatment at UCLA in 2016, because rapper Kanye West had reportedly been admitted to the hospital the same day for exhaustion.

Yolanda was in the midst of a 16-month battle with cancer, which ultimately claimed her life.

“There was obviously a greater security presence then what there typically was. It definitely impacted our getting to the hospital, it definitely impacted the time of getting her in there,” Baskin told the I-Team.

“[From] what we’ve seen, people with a certain amount of access or privilege or sort of a higher profile have the ability to get greater access or greater care,” said Kathryn Lybarger, president of AFSCME Local 3299, the University of California’s largest employee union. Local 3299 counts UCLA health workers among its 24,000 members.

“It should be totally unacceptable,” Lybarger said.

UCLA declined to comment or answer I-Team questions.

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[Source]: NBC 4 Los Angeles