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Doctor, hospital sued over unnecessary surgeries

A cardiologist and the hospital where he operated have been sued over claims that the doctor subjected patients to surgeries that did not improve their health and may have even harmed them. Malpractice lawsuits by two former patients accuse the doctor and the hospital of medical negligence and hospital negligence for implanting unnecessary  medical devices.

The hospital has denied the allegations in the lawsuits, saying the Department of Justice had investigated complaints against the surgeon and found no basis for a malpractice claim. A medical review board investigation agreed that the hospital met the standard of care in treating these patients. However, other doctors questioned the need for the implants in these patients.

One of the patients who filed suit says the cardiologist persuaded him to have surgery to insert a cardiac defibrillator, a device much like a pacemaker, when he was only 25. Another doctor told the man that medication could control his condition and advised him not to have the surgery.

The patient found it hard to ignore the cardiac surgeon’s recommendation, after the doctor told him he was at risk of dying if he refused surgery. Now the man says the implanted defibrillator is defective and liable to malfunction at any time.

The other lawsuit was filed by a woman who was treated by the cardiologist for cardiomyopathy. The doctor convinced her to let him replace her defibrillator, which had been implanted just nine months previously, with a newer device. The woman believes that her need to have a subsequent heart transplant may have been brought on by the insertion of the second device in her heart.

Time will tell how these claims will be resolved. For now, reports of the lawsuits may remind Louisiana residents that they can seek justice in the aftermath of medical malpractice.

Source: Northwest Indiana Times, “Munster cardiologist accused of implanting unnecessary devices,” by Vanessa Renderman, May 7, 2014

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