TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

September 7, 2012

Patients sue hospital, allege needless procedures

CORBIN — LONDON, Ky. (AP) —LONDON, Ky. (AP) — More than 300 former patients have filed lawsuits against a southern Kentucky hospital and associated agencies alleging they underwent unnecessary heart procedures carrying high risks.

The lawsuits were filed in Laurel County Circuit Court against St. Joseph London. One plaintiff, 67-year-old Edward Marshall, said he thought something was wrong after he underwent multiple heart procedures, including heart catheterizations, stents and even getting a pacemaker.

Marshall told WYMT-TV (bit.ly/QcAAXO) he saw a specialist outside of southern Kentucky and concluded his diagnosis didn’t match the treatment he received at the hospital.

“You take someone who has been hurt, has had a heart attack and you are scared to death and you will do anything to keep it from happening again,” Marshall said. “You put your faith in the doctor.”

Hospital spokeswoman Sharon Hershberger released a statement saying the hospital is aware of the litigation. Hershberger declined to comment further because the suits are pending.

“We will thoroughly review the complaint and respond accordingly,” Hershberger said.

Around 30 lawsuits were filed by Louisville attorney Hans Poppe last year alone. Poppe is handling most of the suits filed this year. Poppe said there were approximately 288 cardiac patients and around 40 to 50 spouses of former patients involved in the most recent suit. The lawsuits include claims that patients were given unnecessary heart procedures which information from the American Heart Association indicates has serious risks, including death in some cases.

The American Medical Association has minimum requirements to administer certain heart procedures and surgeries. The lawsuits allege doctors knew patients did not meet these requirements but performed the surgeries anyway in exchange for benefits and bonuses given to them by the hospital.

“Apparently they were not following those guidelines,” said Marshall. “If they had been following them, most of these procedures wouldn’t be done.”

The lawsuits were filed in Laurel County Circuit Court against St. Joseph London. One plaintiff, 67-year-old Edward Marshall, said he thought something was wrong after he underwent multiple heart procedures, including heart catheterizations, stents and even getting a pacemaker.

Marshall told WYMT-TV (bit.ly/QcAAXO) he saw a specialist outside of southern Kentucky and concluded his diagnosis didn’t match the treatment he received at the hospital.

“You take someone who has been hurt, has had a heart attack and you are scared to death and you will do anything to keep it from happening again,” Marshall said. “You put your faith in the doctor.”

Hospital spokeswoman Sharon Hershberger released a statement saying the hospital is aware of the litigation. Hershberger declined to comment further because the suits are pending.

“We will thoroughly review the complaint and respond accordingly,” Hershberger said.

Around 30 lawsuits were filed by Louisville attorney Hans Poppe last year alone. Poppe is handling most of the suits filed this year. Poppe said there were approximately 288 cardiac patients and around 40 to 50 spouses of former patients involved in the most recent suit. The lawsuits include claims that patients were given unnecessary heart procedures which information from the American Heart Association indicates has serious risks, including death in some cases.

The American Medical Association has minimum requirements to administer certain heart procedures and surgeries. The lawsuits allege doctors knew patients did not meet these requirements but performed the surgeries anyway in exchange for benefits and bonuses given to them by the hospital.

“Apparently they were not following those guidelines,” said Marshall. “If they had been following them, most of these procedures wouldn’t be done.”

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