Coronary stent surgery is regarded as a high-risk procedure, despite its life-saving benefits. The high risks of this procedure include heart attacks, stroke, artery damage, and possibly expensive life-long drug treatment. Additionally, the costs of these surgeries can be up to $15,000 per patient. It has been suggested that some hospitals and physicians have convinced patients to undergo coronary stent operations when it is not necessary despite there being alternative, less-invasive methods of treatment that are just as effective.
The current national guidelines for coronary stent procedure are that it is not recommended for patients who have arteries that are less than 70 percent blocked. This is recommended because less invasive and less dangerous methods of treatment can be investigated. Up to six percent of patients who undergo coronary stent surgery suffer complications and there is a death rate of just over two percent.
There have been patients with approximately ten percent blockage being misinformed by their doctors that their arteries are blocked by up to 90 percent. Patients with such low blockage should not be advised to use coronary stenting. Unfortunately some patients are, despite the risks the procedure poses. In one case, it was discovered that in one day 30 stents were implanted in a single hospital.
In a recently settled medical malpractice case out of Maryland, a hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, and a doctor, Mark Midei, were sued for unnecessarily implanting heart stents in patients. Prior to the lawsuit, there was a federal investigation and hospital review, beginning in 2010, that found hundreds of cases between the years 2007 and 2009 where Midei allegedly profited by placing stents in patients’ arteries when it was not medically necessary.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers said that the coronary unit at St. Joseph’s was out of control, during opening statements, giving patient’s stents when they did not need them. The lawyers alleged that Midei and the hospital had consciously decided to look the other way and profited from the high number of procedures. Despite the guidelines that patients with 70 percent or less blockage should not get stents, Midei’s records showed that he put stents in people who had only 20-30 percent blockage while telling them that they had 80-95 percent blockage.
Patients should not have to undergo unnecessary procedures nor suffer the complications those procedures may create. If you believe that you or a loved one has undergone an unnecessary coronary stent procedure you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. You may have a medical malpractice claim and could receive compensation for medical bills, ongoing medical costs, and other damages.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.