One of the doctors asked to help determine if unnecessary heart stents were being implanted at some Maryland hospitals has become the target of several lawsuits.
A medical malpractice attorney, who already has more than 200 cases pending against one doctor, has filed two more cases, claiming his clients received unnecessary stents. This time, the suits target one doctor on a state committee that was established to ensure that no more unneeded stents were inserted. Another attorney has filed a third suit against the doctor.
Doctors insert stents to open blocked arteries, but some medical experts say that not all blockages should receive the treatment. Instead, in some cases where the blockage is not as severe, patients should have alternate treatment and be advised to alter their lifestyles. Experts say a stent could create blood clots.
Now, what started out as an investigation into just a single doctor at one hospital has expanded to several healthcare facilities. State health officials have instructed some hospital administrators to closely review patient cases based on the high number of stents implanted at their locations.
A study of statistics done in 2010 by the Baltimore Sun determined that three state hospitals implanted stents at a rate much higher than the average.
Two years ago, one hospital notified close to 600 patients that stent-implanting procedures done at that facility might not have been necessary. The doctor who performed them relinquished his medical license and is the subject of the 200-plus lawsuits.
In cases like these, patients could have been taken advantage of. Patients should expect the highest standard of care, and not to have unnecessary procedures performed on them.