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Heart stents lead to deaths nationwide including Connecticut


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Oct 04, 2013 in Surgical Errors

Implanting heart stents has become a feasible medical option for doctors looking to address patients' heart health problems, such as limited coronary blood flow. Yet, according to one news source, some doctors around the United States have implanted unnecessary stents that ultimately put patients at risk for complications like clots, bleeding due to anti-clotting medication, blockages and even death. The report pointed to financial incentives as a possible motive behind medical professionals' eagerness to implant stents in patients. For instance, doctors can earn approximately $1,000 for stent surgery and roughly $250 for discussing alternative medical procedures.

The article also claimed that a handful of American hospitals provided financial rewards to doctors whose patients received stents, and the hospitals themselves allegedly received large amounts of revenue from cardiac stent procedures. Several hospitals have settled with the Justice Department for providing illegal monetary enticements, and one doctor allegedly lost his medical license when authorities discovered he had falsified patients' medical records to disguise wrongdoing.

Some cardiologists have claimed that two-thirds of all implanted stents are unnecessary, and a 2011 study published in a well-known medical journal claimed that only half of the country's elective stent procedures aligned with the recommendations created by medical specialists. In addition, the United States Food and Drug Administration reported that nearly 800 deaths could have been caused by cardiac stents in 2012, an approximate 70 percent rise since 2008.

Patients who unnecessarily receive cardiac stents and later experience complications like clotting and excessive bleeding may be able to receive financial compensation for their medical bills and suffering. When medical negligence leads to injuries or death, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to guide victims or their families in filing a suit against the negligent parties.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, "Deaths Linked to Cardiac Stents Rise as Overuse Seen", Peter Waldman, David Armstrong and Sydney P. Freed, September 26, 2013