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Maryland doctor accused of performing unnecessary procedures

A Maryland cardiologist that filed a lawsuit for defamation recently had a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge dismiss the matter. The lawsuit was filed against St. Joseph Medical Center. The Maryland cardiologist was seeking damages for accusations of medical malpractice for unnecessarily performing heart stent procedures.

The doctor described himself "as a scapegoat for the hospital's own turmoil." However, the lawyers for St. Joseph deny this and argued that the lawsuit was invalid because of a contract the doctor had signed absolving St. Joseph's of responsibility. The hospital is currently facing a number of its own troubles, including a decline in revenue and admission.

The physician in the matter was placed on administrative leave in 2009 after he was accused of performing unnecessary procedures. Following the accusations, the hospital notified nearly 600 patients in a letter that the heart stents they received might not have been necessary. More than 200 of these former patients have since filed lawsuits likely alleging medical malpractice.

The physician was suing for $60 million in damages alleging that the publicity has made it nearly impossible for him to find new employment. The judge as well as the attorneys for both parties, and the hospital's parent company, has not commented.

The effect of the unnecessary heart stent on the patients of the physician is not yet apparent, although the results of unnecessary and often invasive surgeries should not be ignored. Any procedure, especially procedures involving the heart, can be incredibly dangerous, and some surgeries require lengthy and painful recovery. Recovery can be worse if unexpected complications arise.

The outcome of the cases involving the 200 patients that have filed lawsuits against the physician is unknown. When patients believe unnecessary procedures were performed on them they would be wise to consider discussing the matter with an attorney.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Cardiologist's defamation suit dismissed," Timothy B. Wheeler, April 23, 2012

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