Three cardiologists in Munster, Indiana are under investigation for allegedly performing hundreds of unnecessary procedures including open heart surgery and implanting of stents and pacemakers, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
According to the article, nearly 300 patients around Munster, Indiana have filed lawsuits against Dr. Gandhi and two of his partners in Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana, alleging that the cardiologists performed unnecessary treatments or surgeries.
Unnecessary medical procedures are an all too common form of medical malpractice in the United States. Patients entrust their health to doctors and hospitals. When health care providers put profits ahead of patients’ health, they should be held legalrly responsible for the harm they cause. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Indiana, speak with a dedicated medical malpractice lawyer about your legal options.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Filed Against Dr. Gandhi
According to the Times report, the Indiana state Medicaid program has started an investigation of procedures, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed medical records of patients.
One woman had a pacemaker unnecessarily implanted by Dr. Gandhi when she was in her 40s. Since the pacemaker has been removed by a different doctor, the woman’s condition has “improved markedly,” the article said. Another patient interviewed in the article underwent 24 leg procedures, which another surgeon has told him were unnecessary.
In addition to unnecessarily implanting pacemakers into patients, Dr. Gandhi has also been accused of performing unnecessary open-heart surgeries, inserting unwarranted mesh stents, prescribing unnecessary medication, and other unnecessary cardiac procedures. Community Hospital, the Munster hospital where the cardiologist worked, also has been named in the lawsuit. Dr. Gandhi retired last fall.
How Common Are Unnecessary Cardiac Procedures?
Unnecessary cardiac procedures are more common that one would think. Several cases have been brought against hospitals and doctors in recent years, alleging that the health care providers had performed unnecessary operations. In fact, doctors have even been accused of altering patients’ records so that it appears that the patient is in need of a cardiac procedure, such as the insertion of a stent, when no procedure is really warranted.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of American Medicine, cardiac stents are medically inappropriate approximately 12 percent of the time, and are of “uncertain value” another 38 percent of the time. A panel of medical specialists assembled by the American Medical Association identified elective heart stinting procedures as one of five over utilized procedures that provide patients little or no benefit. According to Medicare guidelines, a patient’s arteries should be 70 percent blocked to warrant the use of a stent.
Why would doctors perform medically unnecessary procedures? Cardiac surgeries and other procedures are a source of revenue for physicians and hospitals. According to the New York Times, Dr. Gandhi and his two partners were the most highly paid heart doctors in Indiana in terms of Medicare reimbursements. They received close to five million dollars in Medicare payments in 2012.
Did An Indiana Medical Practitioner Injure You?
Performing unnecessary medical procedures puts a patient at significant needless risk. Not only may the procedure itself be dangerous, but a patient may face serious or fatal health concerns as a result. Stent procedures, for example, are related to an increased risk of death. Many patients who are treated unnecessarily have been left with significant scarring, and emotional anguish.
If you or a loved one has been treated by an Indiana medical practitioner and undergone any significant procedure, including cardiac stenting, that you suspect may have been unnecessary, let an experienced Avon medical malpractice attorney at Baker & Gilchrist review your case at no charge and discuss your legal options. We can help you file a claim for damages and recover the compensation that you deserve. Our Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers want to hear from you today. To schedule a consultation, call our offices now at 317-272-0008.