By: Staff Writers | Published: January 29th, 2010
A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of hundreds of patients who allegedly received unnecessary coronary stents by a doctor at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Baltimore, weeks after St. Joseph Medical Center sent letters to 369 patients notifying them that they may have undergone unnecessary heart surgery to implant coronary stents for clogged arteries that they did not need. All of the cases involve one physician, Dr. Mark Midei, who was named as a defendant together with St. Joseph Medical Center in the class-action suit.
Former St. Joseph stent patients have recently discovered that Dr. Midei told them that they had substantial artery blockages, when they may have only had minimal blockages that did not require stent placement. The discrepancies were discovered when St. Joseph called in other coronary experts to examine the patients’ catheterization films.
The St. Joseph Medical Center class action suit seeks to force the hospital to pay for a review of patient records and to impose certain requirements on the hospital before they can perform stent procedures. However, many lawyers pursuing St. Joseph stent lawsuits indicate that individuals treated by Dr. Midei may be in a better position to investigate their claim and obtain more complete compensation for their damages by pursuing an individual claim.
The first individual lawsuit against St. Joseph over unneeded stents by Dr Midei was filed last week, alleging that the hospital knew the doctor was fraudulently or negligently telling patients that they needed the stent procedures that were not medically necessary and failed to take steps to stop it.
Cardiac catheterization procedures with stent placement, which cost about $10,000.00, are designed to keep open significantly blocked arteries. Typically it is only considered necessary for a stent to be implanted when an artery is at least 70% blocked, with anything under 50% considered “insignificant” and treatable without a stent. Some patients were exposed to the risks associated with stent placement by Dr. Midei when they had blockages as low as 10%.
Dr. Mark Midei headed up the cardiac catheterization unit at St. Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore County until he was stripped of his position and privileges at the hospital last summer amid a federal investigation involving cardiac stent procedures performed at the Towson, Maryland hospital.