As federal authorities continue their fraud investigation of the health care system, 369 patients have received word that they were given unneeded heart operations and stent implants at the St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. In many of these cases, patients were told that they had life-threatening artery blockages that would require expensive surgery and a lifetime of blood thinning medication. However, patients who were told that they had 90 percent blockages are now finding that their hearts were perfectly healthy before they had dangerous heart surgery.
The affected patients have received letters along with related medical records and a strong suggestion to see their cardiologists regarding a medical error. Now, armed with the knowledge that they underwent unnecessary surgery, many are contemplating medical malpractice lawsuits. Patients complain that they went through the emotional trauma of a serious surgery and now have altered lives and lifestyles because of their permanent stents. Others mention the cost of the operation as well as the stress that a heart disease diagnosis brings to everyday life. In addition, heart stent operation can have very serious complications, especially in the first two years after insertion.
St. Joseph medical center is one of the busiest heart operation centers in the region and often do 18 heart surgeries per day. It is not clear how many doctors were involved with these serious medical mistakes, and only one doctor, Dr. Mark G. Midei, has been named in the scandal. Midei stopped practice suddenly this summer for unknown reasons.