The cardiologist was found guilty of implanting coronary stents in patients who did not need the procedures, as well as ordering medical tests that were unnecessary and falsifying patients’ medical records. The cardiologist had resigned his hospital privileges in 2007, stating that his visual impairment was the basis of his resignation. However, the hospital conducted a review of the records of the cardiologist’s patients and determined at that time that as many as 25 stents implanted by the cardiologist were medically unnecessary.
The federal prosecutors produced evidence during the criminal trial that the cardiologist had implanted more than 100 coronary stents that were not medically necessary and then falsely documented his patient records to indicate the existence or extent of cardiac blockages that were false. The cardiologist then submitted medical bills to health insurance carriers and to Medicare and Medicaid for payment that were false.
The cardiologist’s 8 years federal prison sentence will be followed by 3 years of supervised probation.
Stents are small mesh tubes implanted in arteries that have become narrowed or weakened due to age or disease. They are placed in the artery(ies) during a procedure known as an angioplasty that restores the flow of blood in narrowed, damaged, weakened, or blocked artery(ies). Once the stent is positioned in the artery, it is expected that it will help prevent the artery from becoming narrowed or blocked again for months or years.
Most stents are made of metal but some are made using fabric that are used in larger arteries. Some stents are coated in medicines that are released slowly over time to prevent the artery from becoming blocked over time.
Coronary stents are stents that are implanted in the heart. A coronary stent is a metal scaffold that is placed using a catheter into the coronary artery or saphenous vein. A coronary stent that is coated with medicine intended to inhibit future blockage is known as a drug-eluting coronary stent (sometimes a re-narrowing of the coronary artery occurs after a stent is placed due to overgrowth of normal tissue during the healing process, which is why a drug-eluting coronary stent containing medication to prevent or slow the overgrowth may be used).
The narrowing of the coronary artery may be due to atherosclerosis, which is the collection of fatty substances such as cholesterol that forms plaque along the lining of the artery. Committing to a life-long healthy diet and getting regular exercise may help reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis, or delay its onset, although genetics play a role as well.
Unnecessary stents are bad medicine that can cause harm to patients. Complications (both known and unexpected) can occur during the stent placement procedure or as a result of having a stent. Doctors who needlessly implant coronary stents are guilty of medical negligence and may be subjected to medical malpractice claims and/or criminal prosecution (such as the Maryland cardiologist discussed above).
If you or a loved one received an unnecessary or questionable stent procedure, you may be entitled to compensation. Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with a medical malpractice claim. You may also reach us toll free at 800-295-3959 to discuss finding a local medical malpractice lawyer to help you with your medical malpractice claim.
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