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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Hospital Did Heart Catheterizations|Just for the Money, Class Claims

BALTIMORE (CN) - St. Joseph Medical Center misinformed patients to persuade hundreds, and perhaps thousands of them, that they needed risky cardiac catheterization and stent placement, a class action claims in City Court. The hospital in Towson, Md. does about 6,500 cardiac catheterizations a year at roughly $10,000 a pop, according to the complaint.

"St. Joseph is among the top 199 cardiovascular hospitals in the United States, and operates a cardiac catheterization center which performs approximately 6,500 procedures a year at an enormous profit," the complaint states. "Each catheterization procedure costs approximately $10,000."

The class claims St. Joseph recommended and performed the procedures without obtaining informed consent. The patients say they were shown cardiac catheterization reports that "materially misrepresented the condition of their arteries."

"St. Joseph and its agents obtained the plaintiffs' consent to cardiac catheterization and stent placement by misinforming the plaintiffs that their coronary arteries were blocked at levels which indicated that insertion of a cardiac stent was necessary," the complaint states.

It claims that St. Joseph encouraged patients to consent to "a harmful, invasive, and risky coronary procedure for [the hospital's] financial benefit."

"As a result of St. Joseph's actions, the plaintiffs, in addition to having to incur a medical procedure that included risks of death, heart attack, st[r]oke and coronary artery damage, will be forced to endure long term drug therapy and monitoring and will suffer from increased risks of serious medical complications, including the risk of scar tissue forming inside or near the stent which would obstruct the blood supply in the artery."

The named plaintiff says she received a letter from St. Joseph in December 2009 that stated, "'On September 11, 2008, you had a cardiac catheterization procedure with stent placement performed at St. Joseph Medical Center. I am writing to let you know that a subsequent clinical review of your cardiac catheterization report was different than the original report and may be relevant to your ongoing care and treatment.'

"St. Joseph sent similar letters to over 350 patients who had a cardiac stent procedure performed at St. Joseph," according to the complaint.

All these patients face long-term risks associated with stent placement "including risks of blood clots, heart attacks, and prolonged use of extensive blood thinners," the complaint states.

They also were damaged financially by the cost of the procedure, the insurance benefit payments made to St. Joseph on their behalf, and the costs of their future medical monitoring and treatment.

"On information and belief, St. Joseph performed hundreds, if not thousands, of similar medically [sic] stent procedures on its patients without obtaining informed consent."

The class seeks punitive damages for fraud, negligence, unjust enrichment, and being operated upon without informed consent. Their lead attorney is Peter Angelos.

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