It has been reported that upwards of 273 former patients of a Baltimore hospital and its former cardiologist will receive at least $134,000 each (before attorneys’ fees and costs are deducted) to settle their claims against the hospital that alleged that the patients had medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures. The total settlement could be in the range of $37 million.
The Baltimore hospital, which was owned and operated by Catholic Health Initiatives at the time of the alleged unnecessary stent procedures (the hospital was later sold to the University of Maryland Medical System, which assumed no liability for the stent claims), had sent notices to hundreds of former patients of the cardiologist, whose stent procedures performed at the hospital were a major source of income for the hospital, advising them that their cardiac stents may have been unnecessary (which the former cardiologist has denied).
The settlement agreement, in which the former owner of the hospital does not admit any wrongdoing, would resolve the claims of the patients who had received the notices and who were involved with the state and federal class-action lawsuits that had been filed, so long as at least 60% of the class members agree to participate in the settlement. Nonetheless, class members could still opt-out from the settlement and pursue their individual claims.
The state class-action lawsuit was filed in January 2010. Settlement negotiations before a mediator began in October 2013. A state judge gave his preliminary approval to the settlement agreement terms last week, finding that the terms of the settlement were fair, reasonable, and adequate.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys are expected to request attorneys’ fees in the amount of 40%. The two named plaintiffs are expected to request incentive payments in the amount of $25,000 each, for their efforts in bringing the class-action Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of the class members, in addition to their share of the settlement proceeds. A hearing to determine final approval of the settlement agreement is scheduled for May 2014.
Many other medical malpractice cases against the hospital and the cardiologist have either been settled, such as the confidential settlement involving 247 former patients that was reached in May 2013 during trial, or are pending. Many of the pending Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits involve patients who may choose to participate in the recently announced settlement.
The former cardiologist, who was not a party to the Maryland medical malpractice class-action lawsuit that is being settled, lost his license to practice medicine in Maryland. Now a health care consultant, the former cardiologist reportedly stated during an interview last week, “They [the stents] are not always a matter of life or death, but rest assured that there are a great number of them for which that is true.”
If you or a loved one received a stent that may have been medically unnecessary in Maryland or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your stent claim for you and represent you in a stent malpractice case, if appropriate.
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