Cardiac Stents: Profitable but Are They Always Necessary?

A story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal questions the actions of a doctor who may have unnecessarily implanted thousands of cardiac stents used to keep arteries open. Senate investigators have zeroed in on the Baltimore area cardiologist as an example of health care costs out of control. He allegedly implanted 585 stents from 2007 to 2009 while he worked as a sales consultant for Abbot Laboratories, whose stents he used. The cardiologist was barred from local hospital privileges after investigators found many of those stents were unnecessary.

In the area of skyrocketing health care costs, medical devices are very lucrative. Medicare paid about $25 billion for stent surgery for six years up until 2009, according to Senate investigators.

The cardiologist, Mark Midei, received a $2,159 barbeque dinner two days before he inserted 30 stents in a single day, according to the reports. A hospital looking into the doctor found 1,878 cases in which he inserted stents from January 2007 to May 2009 to determine 585 may have been unnecessary. Medicare paid $3.8 million for those procedures which cost $6.6 million.

Hospitals can make about $10,000 from each stent procedure, so often the facility looks the other way when a large number of procedures are performed, reports Fair Warning. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that many stent placements are unnecessary and do not extend the life of the patient.

If you or a loved one have been implanted with a medical device that has failed or led to complications, the Florida defective medical device attorneys at Farah & Farah can look through your medical records to determine if there may be some avenue to be compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages. Call our office soon as there is a limited time within which to bring a medical malpractice action.