St.Joseph tells 169 more patients they may have had unneeded stent surgery

St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson is facing lawsuits and two federal investigations related to its cardiac care division has just informed 169 more heart patients received costly and dangerous treatments that were not needed.
These additional cases bring the total to 538 patients notified by St. Joseph’s that coronary stent implants they received at the hospital may have been unnecessary. Officials at the Hospital also said more questionable procedures may be uncovered while an internal review continues.
The St. Joseph’s announcement is the latest debacle in an issue that has spawned a class action lawsuit, required the removal of a prominent physician and interested the U.S. Senate. It could also result in a multi-million dollar fine for the hospital per court records.
The hospital began investigating its heart catheterization procedures after several warnings last year from federal investigators and quickly focused on stents implanted by a leading cardiologist and senior physician, Dr. Mark Midei.
Stents, which are mesh tubes placed into damaged arteries to open them up are generally implanted in patients with at least a 70% blockage. But hospital officials in their review discovered stents implanted by Dr. Midei had insufficient blockage. And that the amount of blockage was overstated in the medical reports.
“Leaders of (St. Joseph) felt it was their ethical responsibility to notify these patients to allow them to determine if medical follow-up was appropriate.” The hospital said in a statement. They reiterated that Midei (who is no longer at the hospital) is the only doctor under investigation.
In 2008 Midei was recruited to lead the cardiac catheterization department at St. Josephs from his former employer MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates of suburban Baltimore.
Last month the U.S. Senate Finance Committee requested St. Joseph to turn over all the records of its financial relationship with stent manufactures and how the $10,000 procedures were billed to federal and private insurers.
“In addition to putting the patients lives at risk unnecessary medical procedures amount to wasteful spending of precious federal health care dollars.” Said the U.S. Senate in a letter to the hospital.
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