A hospital in Maryland is currently notifying patients of the possibility of mass medical malpractice after it was discovered that as many as 369 patients may have received unnecessary arterial stent implants.
Cardiac catheterization with the use of coronary stents is commonly done in an attempt to open up clogged arteries. According to reports, the patients affected had only minor blockages in their arteries that did not warrant the use of coronary stents. As a result these patients were exposed to unnecessary risk.
Coronary stents are typically implanted via the bloodstream and through the leg. The risks associated with cardiac catheterization include:
- Allergic reaction
- Damage to blood vessels
- Blood clots
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney damage
- Heart Attack
It is believed that a possible underlying reason for the unnecessary procedures is health care fraud, for which the hospital is currently under investigation. These procedures are quite costly and most insurance providers, including Medicare, require that a patient’s artery be at least 70% blocked before they will approve the use of a stent. It is reported that the hospital told the affected patients that they had frighteningly large blockages, some up to 95%, when in reality most of the blockages were less than 10%.
Being forced to undergo any unnecessary procedure can be physically and emotionally taxing on anyone. The fact that the patients involved in this case underwent such a dangerous one only makes the situation that much more upsetting. We will most likely see an influx of medical malpractice lawsuits as a result.