Patients and state regulatory boards alike are beginning to bring awareness to and concern over the alleged “binge”-like use of unnecessary coronary stents in the treatment of cardiac conditions.
In one case, a man received a total of 21 coronary stents over a period of eight months. In one procedure alone, the operating doctor tore a blood vessel, and as a result inserted five of the devices into a single artery. This information is according to the Texas Medical Board staff in a complaint. The complaint further states that the excessive and unnecessary stents weakened the man’s heart and exposed him to complications which included clots, blockages, and reportedly also his “ultimately death.” In that case, the doctor reportedly paid $10,000 and agreed to two years of additional oversight in order to settle the complaint for the man and other patients.
Cardiac stents are generally used to restore blood flow in patients who have suffered heart complications, such as heart attacks. In many cases, they are the best or only option for treatment. However, there is also a reported massive amount of so called elective stent surgery, which allegedly takes place at least on some level due to the immense payout to the individual doctors and hospitals by whom they are employed. According to court documents and other filings, the overuse of these devices has been associated with injury, death, and fraud. At least one expert believes that at two out of three elective stents are unnecessary, which equates to about one third of stent procedures overall.
It is important to keep in mind that many of these patients’ stories, and others adversely affected, happened in cases where there were also additional egregious criminal law and fraud violations. More in-depth information regarding the criminal nature of these cases can be found in the full length article linked to above. Medical decisions should be reached by the patient with a trusted doctor or medical care team. That being said, these sorts of complications and unnecessary surgeries do happen, and when they do, the victims should be compensated for their injuries or other losses.
As presented in the investigation, the damages caused as a result of the overuse of the cardiac stents present a potential example of medical malpractice. The reason for this is because malpractice claims focus on whether the particular doctor or other provider acted in accordance with the standard of reasonable care for comparable professionals within the local geographic area. If the other doctors of similar stature would not have used a stent due to the questionability regarding their usefulness, or as the best treatment for the particular problem the patient is experiencing.
A successful medical malpractice claim could entitle the patient to a recovery for any medical bills or costs, pain and suffering, physical or other therapies, lost wages at work, disability pay, future medical expenses, etc. Additionally, in egregious cases, punitive damages may also be available, although Maryland has a cap on the maximum amount available for this non-economic damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the negligent care of a physician, podiatrist, or other medical provider, you should seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can help you identify all of the responsible parties, evaluate your claim, and develop a strategy to win compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are skilled at pursuing claims for people in Maryland injured due to the malpractice or negligence of medical professionals. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys will fight to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today online or by calling (800) 654-1949 in order to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Baltimore Agrees to $50,000 Settlement in Student Sexual Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published September 30, 2013
Judge Allows Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Church to Proceed, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published September 23, 2013