Cincinnati medical malpractice attorney and Ohio healthcare whistleblower lawyer investigating unnecessary vascular surgery malpractice cases and leg stent injury lawsuits for plaintiffs nationwide
It is unfortunate when patients have to question medical professionals, though with reports of hospitals moving forward with unnecessary surgical procedures, it may be prudent to at least get a second opinion.
A new report published by Johns Hopkins researchers in the Journal of Vascular Surgery analyzed data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and discovered an alarming trend: doctors performing unnecessary medical procedures, including unnecessary leg stents.
The report highlights that physicians are stenting leg arteries and removing plaque at an increasing high rate. These vascular surgeries may be avoidable, and can place patients at an additional risk of developing infection and other surgical complications.
The Medicare research identified over 300 physicians who may be performing unnecessary leg stent procedures on patients newly diagnosed with leg pain. Unnecessary surgery exposes patients to unjustified surgical risks. But perhaps because doctors are now so comfortable performing surgical procedures, they tend to be more proactive with riskier medical options, and consider less-invasive procedures far less.
The issue of performing unnecessary surgical procedures is by no means a problem with every doctor. But there are many physicians who are suspected of contributing to the health risks of patients. Vascular operations like leg stents could be a threat to public health because performing unnecessary leg stents can make vascular disease worse by blocking narrow arteries or causing an artery to rupture.
In medical malpractice and unnecessary leg stent lawsuits, doctors have been criticized for not leaving such surgical procedures as a last resort. But hospital management and health officials do not regulate surgical procedures like they do prescribing medication. So in some cases, it’s easier for a doctor to perform a risky surgery than to prescribe a medication. Faith in the healthcare system must be improved.
This a complex question, which must be asked on a case-by-case basis. Each individual medical malpractice case is different and a legal professional will investigate fully before filing an unnecessary surgery lawsuit.
Most doctors will only operate on a patient if they find it absolutely necessary. But as surgical procedures become easier to perform, doctors may be more likely to operate, even when it isn’t critical.
A more concerning scenario is when doctors perform surgical procedures for financial gain. Healthcare whistleblowers have uncovered several instances when a hospital or doctor receives kickbacks from medical device companies. So the more medical instruments they use, the more money they will earn. This is specifically a problem within the joint replacement industry.
Patients have become wary of surgical procedures, however, and for good reason. There are several risks involved with vascular leg stenting and other surgical procedures. We want to believe that surgeons always have our best interests in mind, but hospital negligence lawsuits have shown that is not always the case. Patient safety should always be the number one priority, and when it is discounted, medical malpractice lawsuits may be filed.
The medical community has long suggested that a coronary stent, or heart stent, is effective in helping patients with blocked arteries. But more recently, cardiac injury lawsuits and cardiac stent studies have concluded that is not always the case. Moreover, heart stents, according to research, have been overused, and have led to serious health complications.
Though coronary stents can increase blood flow to the heart, placing vascular stents requires an operation that carries risks of its own. Heart stents, for some patients, may make no difference in their overall health, and the added risk of surgery is now not recommended as it once was. Risks may include the following:
Leg pain and other symptoms can lead to leg stenting and ballooning, a procedure known as peripheral vascular intervention. This is relatively common, particularly in older patients. With so many patients with some plaque in their leg artery, some doctors will choose to balloon and stent the leg.
But many vascular medical professionals say there is an overuse issue, as described by the Johns Hopkins research. Some guidelines recommend leg stenting and peripheral vascular interventions only after patients have failed other medical therapy and have severe symptoms.
Other doctors have suggested the use of atherectomy as an alternative. Atherectomy is a minimally invasive procedure using a laser to remove plaque from blood vessels. But even that procedure could be overused, as Medicaid reimbursements make it tempting for hospitals to employ. Billing reports can be damning for some doctors and hospitals, which may indicate a pattern of unnecessary medical procedures.
First-line treatments can vary from doctor to doctor, especially when patients present with blocked arteries, ulcers, gangrene, poor blood flow, and at risk of limb loss. Even among physicians, they admit they are aware of unnecessary leg stents and vascular procedures. The volume of stenting procedures indicates a problem with unnecessary surgical procedures, as doctors note that even basic exercise can be a better option sometimes. Leg stents and vascular procedures may cause scarring in the blood vessels, which often will require another procedure later.
There is also the issue of rising healthcare costs and cost-to patients, related to unnecessary surgical procedures. For partial blockages or plaques in leg arteries, the basic medical recommendation is non-invasive until they require surgery. But some doctors are screening patients for plaques in leg arteries without symptoms. Free vascular screenings are a red flag for patients.
It may not be a new problem, with some hospitals and physicians racking up larger bills for patients, though it is no less concerning. Health care whistleblowers have be integral in tamping down the issue of excessive medical billing and unnecessary medical procedures.
Insiders in the medical industry are just as outraged as patients, and healthcare whistleblowers and legal pressure may be the only way to control the issue of unnecessary surgery cases. Examples of unnecessary medical procedures and surgery include:
If a loved one has suffered an injury due to an unnecessary surgical procedure or leg stent, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, a Cincinnati medical malpractice attorney, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding unnecessary vascular surgery lawsuits.