More than 260 patients of an Indiana cardiology practice have settled their claims for alleged unnecessary cardiac procedures and medical device implants for $66.5 million, after more than six years of litigation. The settlement will be paid by the Northwest Indiana cardiology group, a Northwest Indiana hospital, and with contribution from the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund.
The Indiana medical malpractice lawsuits focused on cardiologist Arvind Gandhi, MD, who was already the subject of medical malpractice lawsuits when he retired in 2014. Although retired, his medical license in Indiana does not expire until October 31, 2021 (he has been licensed in Indiana since March 24, 1980). The Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund lists 181 medical malpractice claims filed against the cardiologist, the vast majority of which were filed between 2014 and 2016. Source
Indiana Medical Malpractice Claims
A claim, whether in contract or tort, may not be brought against a health care provider based upon professional services or health care that was provided or that should have been provided unless the claim is filed within two (2) years after the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect, except that a minor less than six (6) years of age has until the minor’s eighth birthday to file. An action against a health care provider may not be commenced in a court in Indiana before: (1) the claimant’s proposed complaint has been presented to a medical review panel established under IC 34-18-10 (or IC 27-12-10 before its repeal); and (2) an opinion is given by the panel. A claimant may commence an action in court for malpractice without the presentation of the claim to a medical review panel if the claimant and all parties named as defendants in the action agree that the claim is not to be presented to a medical review panel. The agreement must be in writing and must be signed by each party or an authorized agent of the party. The claimant must attach a copy of the agreement to the complaint filed with the court in which the action is commenced.
A patient may commence an action against a health care provider for malpractice without submitting a proposed complaint to a medical review panel if the patient’s pleadings include a declaration that the patient seeks damages from the health care provider in an amount not greater than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). A claimant may commence an action in court for malpractice at the same time the claimant’s proposed complaint is being considered by a medical review panel if the: (1) complaint filed in court may not contain any information that would allow a third party to identify the defendant; (2) claimant is prohibited from pursuing the action; and (3) court is prohibited from taking any action except setting a date for trial, an action under IC 34-18-8-8 (or IC 27-12-8-8 before its repeal), or an action under IC 34-18-11 (or IC 27-12-11 before its repeal).
Indiana Medical Review Panel
The medical review panel has the sole duty to express the panel’s expert opinion as to whether or not the evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants acted or failed to act within the appropriate standards of care as charged in the complaint. After reviewing all evidence and after any examination of the panel by counsel representing either party, the panel shall, within thirty (30) days, give one (1) or more of the following expert opinions, which must be in writing and signed by the panelists: (1) The evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care as charged in the complaint. (2) The evidence does not support the conclusion that the defendant or defendants failed to meet the applicable standard of care as charged in the complaint. (3) There is a material issue of fact, not requiring expert opinion, bearing on liability for consideration by the court or jury. (4) The conduct complained of was or was not a factor of the resultant damages. If so, whether the plaintiff suffered: (A) any disability and the extent and duration of the disability; and (B) any permanent impairment and the percentage of the impairment.
A report of the expert opinion reached by the medical review panel is admissible as evidence in any action subsequently brought by the claimant in a court of law. However, the expert opinion is not conclusive, and either party, at the party’s cost, has the right to call any member of the medical review panel as a witness. If called, a witness shall appear and testify.
If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of medical malpractice in Indiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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