An Indiana cardiologist who retired in 2015 and his medical practice are facing nearly 300 Indiana medical malpractice claims that allege that he performed unnecessary cardiac procedures, including implanting unnecessary cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators.
On December 8, 2015, an Indiana medical malpractice jury awarded $450,000 to the widow of a man who died after the defendant cardiologist treated the man for an infected pacemaker.
Indiana requires that medical malpractice claims be reviewed by medical review panels before medical malpractice claims may be filed in court. Two additional medical malpractice claims against the cardiologist have completed the medical review panel process, with the panels reportedly finding medical negligence. Those two Indiana medical malpractice cases are scheduled for trial in 2017.
In addition to the medical malpractice trial that was completed in 2015, and the two medical malpractice cases scheduled for trial in 2017, there are approximately 170 medical malpractice claims against the cardiologist winding through the Indiana medical malpractice medical review panel process, many of which also allege medical negligence by the local hospital where the defendant cardiologist performed many of the allegedly unnecessary cardiac procedures. The hospital is alleged to have put its profits ahead of the safety of its patients by knowing that procedures being performed by the cardiologist were medically unnecessary and/or that the cardiologists who performed cardiac procedures at the hospital were not qualified to perform certain procedures.
In one case of alleged medical negligence against the cardiologist, the patient allegedly had 21 scheduled angiograms over a period of years. A medical expert reportedly reviewed the medical records of 12 patients who had defibrillators implanted in them by the cardiologist and found that in seven of the cases, the procedures were unnecessary. In some of the medical malpractice claims against the cardiologist, fifteen or more instances of medical negligence have been alleged.
The cardiologist and hospital deny the plaintiffs’ medical negligence and other claims, with the hospital noting that the cardiologist was a Board-certified interventional cardiologist who had met the hospital’s credentialing requirements for the procedures he performed at the hospital.
Were There Warning Signs?
It has been reported that the cardiologist has been under investigation since at least 2008, when a whistleblower lawsuit was filed by a former nurse and physician at the hospital alleging that the cardiologist was violating the federal False Claims Act by performing unnecessary pacemaker and defibrillator implantations at the hospital. The hospital reportedly settled the claims with no findings being made against the hospital.
It is unclear at this time what effect the multiple claims against the Indiana cardiologist may have on the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. Under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act, the cap on the amount that a patient may recover for injury or death due to medical malpractice is $1,250,000. The liability of a qualified health care provider whose medical negligence proximately caused injury or death is limited to the first $250,000. The Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund is responsible for the balance up to the amount of the cap if a judgment or settlement fixes damages in excess of the $250,000 for which the responsible health care provider is liable. Ind. Code § 34-18-14-3(c).
If you or a loved one had an unnecessary cardiac procedure in Indiana or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your unnecessary cardiac procedure claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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