400 Patients Sue Kentucky Hospital and 11 Cardiologists Over Unnecessary Procedures Reply

After undergoing more than two dozen cardiac procedures over a period of twenty years at St. Joseph Hospital in London, Kentucky, a patient was told by an outside cardiologist in Lexington that a recent procedure had been performed unnecessarily on an artery that was barely blocked.

“I would have not carried out this procedure,” the cardiologist, Michael R. Jones, wrote in a letter to the patient. The story is recounted  in an article published on Sunday in USA Today and the Louisville Courier-Journal, about the latest and perhaps the biggest case yet to surface over unnecessary cardiac procedures.

Comment: By sheer coincidence, on the same day, the New York Times published a news analysis by Barry Meier about the scandal over Johnson & Johnson’s hip implant. “Doctors Who Don’t Speak Out” focuses on the failure of physicians to report problems with devices and drugs, but clearly the issue has even larger implications. A quote from Harlan Krumholz in the story– “Questioning the status quo in medicine is not easy”– could easily apply to the many recent cases of egregious overuse of cardiac procedures and devices. Imagine how recent history might have been different if colleagues of  Sandesh Patil and Mark Midei had raised earlier questions about borderline procedures. Cardiologists and other physicians complain about the intrusive and burdensome role played by the legal system, regulators, and insurance companies, but they have only themselves to blame if they refuse to police their own ranks, and indeed tacitly participate in a system that provides lucrative compensation to high-volume proceduralists.

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes.

Kentucky

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Missouri Board Issues Emergency Suspension Of Cardiologist Accused Of Implanting Unnecessary Stents Reply

A Missouri cardiologist who has been accused of unnecessarily implanting stents in six patients has been temporarily barred from seeing patients. The Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, which licenses physicians and investigates and disciplines physicians in cases of accused misconduct, issued an emergency suspension of the cardiologist’s license to practice, according to a news report by Jeremy Kohler published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cardiologist Randall E. Meyer, of Central Missouri Cardiology in Jefferson City, has filed documents disputing the charges. He can seek reinstatement on February 4 at an administrative hearing. According to the Post-Dispatch, this is the first time the board has issued an emergency suspension in a very long time. The action follows a 2011 Missouri law that expanded the board’s power to issue emergency suspensions.

The Jefferson City cardiologist is accused of placing 13 stents in the coronary arteries of a patient “that “for the most part, were not blocked,” according to the article. In another case, “he told a patient she would have died overnight without the three stents he put in, but records showed no significant disease.”

Four patients are suing Meyer for malpractice. These cases appear to provide the basis for some of the board’s accusations.