Following an internal review, a Towson hospital has notified 369 patients that stents may have been unnecessarily implanted in their arteries. St. Joseph Medical Center conducted the probe after a number of patients complained and at the request of federal investigators. The hospital is under investigation for health-care fraud.
According to the Baltimore Sun, there were patients at St. Joseph who underwent the procedure even though the blockage in their arteries was minor. For example, one man who received a stent only had 10% blockage, but the hospital told him that the blockage was 95%. Another woman was wrongly diagnosed with a heart condition and received a stent because she was told her arteries had a 90% blockage. In fact, the blockage was no more than 10%.
Coronary stents are used to open up clogged arteries or create a bridge where there is damage. Stents are usually implanted during cardiac catheterization. During this medical procedure, the device can be implanted into the arteries through the leg and via the bloodstream. Cardiac catheterization can be costly, and many insurers, as well as Medicare, require that an artery must have at least 70% blockage before a stent can be inserted. Although generally a safe procedure, serious health complications, such as infection, bleeding, blood vessel damage, allergic reaction, blood clots, heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias, low blood pressure, and kidney damage, can occur.
If you were wrongly diagnosed with an illness or health condition, were advised to undergo a medical procedure you did not need, were given the wrong medication, or if a medical mistake occurred during treatment, you may have grounds for filing a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit against those responsible.
Undergoing any type of medical procedure can take a physical and emotional toll on a patient. There is no reason to undergo an unnecessary procedures that can place your life at risk, take an emotional and physical toll on you, and require time off for recovery.
Md. heart patients may not have needed stents, Washington Post/AP, January 15, 2010
Patients learn they might have unneeded stents, Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2010
What Are the Risks of Cardiac Catheterization?, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Related Web Resources:
Cardiac Catheterization, American Heart Association
The best way to determine whether you have grounds for filing a civil case is to speak with an experienced Baltimore County medical malpractice law firm.