Needless Heart Operations In Federal Prosecutor’s Eye
Heart surgery is no joking matter, and it is becoming more and more common every year. Doctors are installing stents in patients every single day and these surgeries are becoming commonplace. The problem with these surgeries is that doctors are now being accused of ordering them for patients that do not necessarily need them.
The latest case involving this type of issue is the King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky. Tom Dearing, the marketing and PR manager for the hospital told Bloomberg that the 373 bed facility has been under a federal prosecutor’s probe since 2011.
Patients Undergoing Needless Surgery
Richard E. Paulus, the hospital’s primary cardiologist has been accused of prescribing surgical stents for patients who do not need them. His lawyer, Robert S. Bennet of the Hogan Lovells law firm in Washington claims he has done nothing wrong.
Sandesh Patil, another cardiologist in Kentucky, was convicted on federal charges linked to performing needless stent installations. He became the third U.S. doctor to be convicted. His sentence was set at 30 months in jail, following a plea of guilty to one charge of Medicaid fraud.
Eleven Hospitals Settle Federal Cases
According to sources, the investigation stems much further than just the hospital in Kentucky. There are a total of eleven hospitals that have settled with the federal prosecutors since 2006. These charges included billing public health programs for surgeries and stents that were not medically necessary. According to Bloomberg there are ongoing investigations in five states at the present time.
Cardiologist Retires With Huge Bank Account
Dr. Paulus, who is the namesake of the cardiology wing at King’s Daughters in Ashland, earned approximately $2.6 million in 2011. He retired with a fat bank account and a medical wing named in his honor. While the spokesperson for the hospital says that the surrounding community knows King’s Daughters is a good hospital, and that Dr. Paulus was the heart doctor you wanted to see if you wanted the best care.
The developments in the cardiology cases around the country leave a lot of questions that patients want to have answered. How much of the money these physicians retire on comes from ill-gotten gain? How many other patients are there who have had unnecessary surgeries? These surgeries have probably improved the quality of life for some patients. However, there are some cases where patients have suffered from allergic reactions and other negative effects from the stents.
The main question many patients want to have answered is “When will the federal prosecutors pull the plug on these needless operations?”
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