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We trust physicians to tell us the truth when it comes to our health or the health of loved ones. When that trust is betrayed, it hurts the relationship a patient has with his or her doctors. Indeed, the entire healthcare system suffers.
In Maryland, more than 100 individuals who received coronary heart stents have begun medical malpractice proceedings after receiving letters earlier this year indicating that the doctor who implanted them may have done so unnecessarily. In total, these notification letters went out to some 600 former patients.
The doctor in question, who was removed from his position last summer, formerly led the hospital’s cardiac catheterization unit, which was responsible for all cardiac stents implanted at the hospital. While many of the patients involved in the pending malpractice lawsuit were told that they had significant artery blockage, further review of patient information has shown that most were well under the generally accepted threshold for action.
The doctor has denied all charges of wrongdoing.
The effect on the patients in this case is two-fold. In addition to the potentiality of unnecessary surgery and the insertion of an unnecessary stent, plus the recovery involved, such operations are expensive. In About Lawsuits’ article on the case, it’s estimated at around $10,000.
It’s also a perfect example of a medical procedure that most patients would have no way to debate the necessity of. That’s fine; this is expertise provided to us by physicians. They specialize in things like cardiac catheterization so that patients don’t have to.
However, when that trust is betrayed, everyone suffers.
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