Cardiac Stents & Medical Malpractice
Cardiac Stents and Medical Malpractice
Cardiac stents have been increasingly overused, exposing doctors to medical malpractice claims.
Cardiac stents are most often used to restore blood flow to people who have suffered a heart attack. The tube-shaped stent is inserted into the coronary arteries to open them up. However, there have been an increasing number of cases where stents have been put in patients who were in stable condition, as elective surgery. This overuse has led to patient death and injury.
There has been an increase in the number of cardiologists accused of overusing stents to charging patients more money. The cardiac stent business is incredibly lucrative. 7 million Americans have had stents implanted in the last decade, at cost exceeding $110 billion. Dr. David Brown, a cardiologist at Stony Brook University School of Medicine evaluated eight clinical trials of 7,000 patients in the last decade. Based on these studies, Dr. Brown estimates two out of three elective stents are unnecessary. This would mean that more than 200,000 stent implant procedures a year are unnecessary.
Even the Department of Justice has gotten involved in the overuse of cardiac stents. Cases of fraud have flooded the department. Claims of fraud stem from accusations that healthcare facilities were paying physicians for referring patients to undergo cardiac stent placement. The argument was that the procedures were unnecessarily putting patients at risk simply to make more money.
As stated before, stents can be incredibly beneficial. However, stent implants do carry serious which must be weighed by each patient, especially if the stents are elective and not critically necessary. Some of the risks associated with stents include:
- Allergic reactions
- Blood clots leading to heart attack, stroke, or other serious problems
- Coronary artery damage
- Kidney problems
- Abnormal heart rhythms
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that cardiac stents were linked to at least 773 deaths in 2012, a 71% increase since 2008. Sometimes medical complications arise in these kinds of procedures, but sometimes, those complications could have been avoided. If a medical professional caused one of these complications or did something that led to the complication, they may be liable for malpractice. If a doctor was not clear about the medical risks of heart stenting and may have misled you regarding whether the procedure was medically necessary, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
When doctors put profits before patients, they expose themselves to medical negligence claims. It’s scary to think that your doctor might not be acting with your best interests in mind. If you have suffered due to unnecessary cardiac stents or cardiac stents that were negligently placed, contact the dedicated attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley. Our attorneys have experience handling cardiac stent malpractice claims and our focus is always on your best interests. Contact Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley today online, or call 615-893-1331 to schedule a free consultation.