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Mother dies in stent assembly line

Colorado residents might be astonished to hear that a mother died under the care of a doctor who has been accused of needlessly using stents to keep the hospital's revenue flowing. When he was trying to insert a stent in an artery near her kidney back in January 2006, he allegedly punctured the wall of her kidney, causing internal bleeding and her eventual death 17 days later. The doctor is now facing several federal lawsuits.

According to a nurse who worked alongside the doctor, if no one intervened, the doctor was going to end up causing the death of a patient. The nurse's report came after the doctor was trying to insert a stent in an artery that supplied blood to a patient's pelvis and leg while snaking a catheter onto a guide wire. The nurse saw blood leakages on the X-ray monitor and told the doctor that the wire seemed to be in the wrong place, but the doctor contested that it was fine. According to another nurse's notes, the hospital received at least seven other similar warnings about the doctor. The hospital allowed his alleged surgeon malpractice to continue.

The hospital went to extremes in order to keep its catheterization clinic, or 'cath lab," open and bringing in revenue, internal documents and witness statements show. The U.S. medicine's binge on stents has resulted in other hospitals paying millions of dollars to doctors in kickbacks for using stents.

Patients who suffered complications due to having unnecessary stents implanted in them might be able to seek compensation for their conditions. Medical malpractice attorneys might be able to assist them in filing a lawsuit against the doctors and hospitals that caused or worsened their conditions.

Source: Bloomberg, "Mother Dies Amid Abuses in $110 Billion U.S. Stent Assembly Line", Sydney P. Freedberg, October 09, 2013

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