A Texas doctor accused of unnecessary stenting has slipped three of four trials against him with his license to practice in the Lone Star State intact.
Dr. Samuel DeMaio, accused last year of standard-of-care violations related to nine patients who allegedly received un-needed stents, angiograms and ICD implants, had pushed for a trial after mediation efforts with the Texas Medical Board collapsed.
But in a mediated agreement signed earlier this month, the board’s allegations were "significantly curtailed," according to heartwire.
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DeMaio confirmed that the board "dropped most of their original allegations" and that he has no restrictions on his license and made no admission of guilt.
Five lawsuits filed over the allegations were dismissed and two were "resolved in his favor," according to heartwire. Although other co-defendants paid the plaintiffs in the settlements, DeMaio said, neither he nor his insurer are on the hook for any payments.
"I don’t want to settle the [final] lawsuit because it’s a case where I don’t think I did anything wrong, and my attorney thinks I can fight it," he told the website.
“It’s good to have this behind me, with no restriction on my medical license and no official reprimand,” DeMaio told the Austin Statesman.
One patient, an 80-year-old man who refused bypass surgery, received 32 stents over 13 months. DeMaio maintains that those stents were necessary and met the proper standard of care, but conceded that he might not make the same decision today, if only because the board’s pursuit of charges against him have had a "chilling effect" on his medical decision-making.
Other allegations include failure to inform patients of risks and failure to obtain informed consent for off-label use of a device in one patient and five patients have filed lawsuits again DeMaio.
In July 2010, a Maryland hospital paid $1.8 million to settle allegations that senior leadership failed to properly address complaints of unnecessary stenting lodged against former cardiologist Dr. John McLean. McLean was convicted of health care fraud in July over insurance claims he filed on unnecessary stents implanted in Medicare and Medicaid patients, ordered unnecessary tests and made false entries in patient records.
In February 2011, fellow Maryland physician Dr. Mark Midei, a cardiologist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, was accused of implanting unnecessary stents in as many as 369 patients. Midei lost his medical license in July, and the hospital paid $22 million to the federal government to settle a whistleblower lawsuit without admitting any guilt.
In June 2011 a whistleblower called out a Tennessee doc and two hospitals for allegations of unnecessary stenting and accused hospital leadership of attacking physicians who tried to oppose the scheme by giving them bad-faith peer reviews leading to their elimination from the medical staff.
Two Pennsylvania doctors are also under investigation for ordering an alleged 200 unnecessary stents between 2009 and 2010.