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It has recently been reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that medical reviews at Westmoreland Hospital have determined two cardiologists, Drs Ehab Morcos and George Bousamra, implanted coronary stents in patients who may not have needed them. It is estimated that at least 141 patients received the stents in 2010 alone.
The medical review was conducted by two teams comprised of nationally recognized interventional cardiologists. The results of the review determined that 141 patients in 2010 may not have had enough blockage in their arteries to need a stent — a tiny wire mesh device to prop open clogged arteries in the heart. Widely accepted medical standards call for a stent when a blockage is higher than 70 percent. The medical review at Westmoreland uncovered information that suggested patients who received stents had “angiographically insignificant narrowing of 50 percent or less,” according to those involved in the investigation.
According to hospital sources, the physicians in question, Drs. Morcos and Bousamra, will have their names turned over to the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services, which investigates improprieties involving Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.
Concerns of excessive stent procedures were brought to the attention of hospital management by other physicians working in the unit. Reacting to these concerns, Westmoreland Hospital ordered an external review of all seven cardiologists and two interventional radiologists who performed stent procedures at Westmoreland. The hospital selected Mercer Medical Audit of San Francisco, a nationally recognized medical review firm, to perform the review. According to Westmoreland officials, Mercer concluded the review by providing data that suggested a pattern of excessive stent utilization by Morcos and Bousamra.
Westmoreland Hospital ordered a second medical review involving all 753 cases performed by the two cardiologists in 2010. The reviewers from American Medical Foundation in Philadelphia spent three days at the hospital reviewing case records and angiograms and they identified 149 stent procedures involving 141 people as not medically necessary. Some patients had two stents implanted.
According to cardiologists, the placement of unnecessary stents in patients can pose serious health risks, including heart attacks. The hospital sent letters to the patients in question advising them to visit one of the hospital’s other cardiologists. If you believe you or a loved one received a stent and it was unnecessary, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer today.