Stent Procedures in Maryland Raise Concerns

Fox 43 News reports that the allegations against a Towson cardiologist accused of having implanted stents in hundreds of patients who didn’t need them have prompted members of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) to release a statement telling heart patients they should not avoid stent procedures. According to SCAI, inappropriate stent procedures are rare, and stents can greatly improve the quality of life in patients who need them. The case has been widely covered by the media in Maryland and many other states, and SCAI is concerned that patients will be scared away from a procedure that may save their lives. However, many physicians, attorneys, and Senate investigators believe that inappropriate stent procedures occur far too often, and other reports have suggested that over-stenting could be a nationwide problem that is putting thousands of patients at great risk. During a heart attack, a stent procedure can save a patient’s life by opening a blocked artery, thus allowing blood to travel properly away from the heart. A stent cannot prevent every heart attack, but it can improve health and quality of life by keeping blocked arteries open. To help prevent inappropriate stent use in future, SCAI and the[…..]

Stent Salespeople Ignore Hospital Rules to Attend Procedures

The Baltimore Sun reports that salespeople selling cardiac stents made by Abbot Laboratories often attended the surgeries of people who were receiving the stents, even though the hospital had banned salespeople from the operating rooms. News of the broken rule came up in a lawsuit against a Towson cardiologist, who has been accused of implanting cardiac stents in people who did not need them. The cardiologist testified that he knew the salespeople from seeing them in the lab. The presence of salespeople during stent procedures raises serious questions about the impact their sales have on the number of stent implants that occur in the U.S. each year. Many people have stents implanted when they don’t really need them, which can cost $10,000 or more per procedure, and that greatly increases the patient’s risk of stent implant injury. A close relationship between doctors who implant stents and the salespeople who sell them may result in an increase of unnecessary stent implants, due to the influence of the salespeople on the physician’s decision-making process. Some physicians and others suspect that the relationship between the Towson cardiologist and the salespeople in his operating rooms may have lead to the large number of unnecessary[…..]

Maryland Stent Implant Injury Case Takes an Unexpected Twist

The case of a Towson cardiologist accused of implanting unnecessary stents in multiple heart patients took an unexpected twist recently when the cardiologist sued the hospital where the procedures were performed, according to a recent article in The Baltimore Sun. Not long after the Maryland Board of Physicians charged the cardiologist with performing unnecessary stent implants, the hospital sent the patients who had been given the implants a letter indicating that they may have not needed the implant. The cardiologist’s lawsuit claims that the hospital ruined his reputation by telling patients they had undergone unnecessary stent implant surgery. According to the attorneys involved in the Maryland lawsuit, the cardiologist’s case puts the hospital in a difficult position. In order to avoid being sued by the patients, the hospital needs to say that the cardiologist didn’t cause any harm to the patients who received stents. However, in order to defend itself against the cardiologist, the hospital must show that at least some patients were harmed, to demonstrate that it did not lie by telling patients they may have been injured. Stent implant injury cases are often complex, and patients who may have been harmed by an improperly implanted stent often need[…..]

Maryland Unnecessary Stent Implant Procedures – Are You at Risk?

The Maryland Board of physicians, the regulatory board in charge of licensing doctors in Maryland, has accused a Towson cardiologist of performing hundreds of stent implant procedures in patients who may not have even needed them. According to The Washington Post, the cardiologist is suspected of violating several Maryland laws pertaining to the “gross over-utilization of health care services” and “willfully making a false report or record in the practice of medicine”. Not only are stent implants expensive, but they also present potential health risks, such as blood clots. In addition, they create negative long-term effects because the recipient is required to take blood-thinning medications for the rest of his or her life. Hundreds of patients who received stent implants in Maryland were under the impression that they had significant coronary artery blockage and needed the stent implant in order to open up the blocked the artery. These patients trusted the opinion of the cardiologist, who ran a cardiac catheterization lab at St. Joseph Medical Center until just this last year. However, after detailed review of the cardiologists X-ray images, it appears that he repeatedly overestimated the level of narrowing, or “stenosis,” patients had in their arteries. For instance, several[…..]