Arkansas heart stent attorneys note allegations of abuse in the use of stents in hospitals and medical facilities across the country. As a result of unnecessary stent procedures, patients are at risk of injuries or complications during or following the surgeries as well as subsequent health issues, including a lifetime of blood-thinning medication prescriptions. Unnecessary stent procedures can also cause a patient to incur significant unnecessary medical costs.
What is a Heart Stent?
A heart stent is used in a medical procedure called an angioplasty to treat coronary heart disease. In this type of surgery, a small metal mesh tube is inserted into an artery in order to improve blood flow to and from the heart. If a patient is prone to coronary heart disease when plaque builds up on the walls inside the artery, he or she may be at an increased risk of stroke or heart attack; the stent is intended to help lower that risk. Stents are also used following a heart attack to restore blood flow in the artery that may have caused the heart attack in the first place.
Risks associated with the use of heart stents include heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and permanent blood vessel damage.
How is Heart Stent Abuse Determined?
In evaluating the safety of heart stents and whether or not cardiologists are performing unnecessary stent procedures, a common rule of thumb for doctors is that an artery should have at least 70 percent blockage before a stent procedure is required. However, in many cases questions remain as to whether hospitals and physicians who claim they are erring on the side of caution are actually performing unnecessary stent procedures in an attempt to make more money.
Why are There Heart Stent Lawsuits?
Federal investigations by the Department of Justice have focused on violations of the False Claims Act and other federal laws by cardiologists and hospitals where unnecessary heart stent procedures were allegedly performed.
News outlets report that, as a result of these investigations, one hospital in Kentucky paid $16.5 million to settle claims made against it by the federal government. A second hospital in that state subsequently paid $41 million “to settle charges under the False Claims Act it overpaid physicians so they would refer heart patients to the hospital for lucrative procedures.”
Fraudulent and abusive practices by physicians performing unnecessary heart stent procedures is not only illegal, it is also actionable in civil courts, and affected individuals may be eligible to recover damages as a result—even if they did not suffer any adverse side-effects.
Contact the Johnson & Vines Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love has received a heart stent and believe it could have been an unnecessary procedure, contact the Johnson & Vines Law Firm today. Consultations are free and with no obligation on your part.