LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - More than 300 former patients are involved in a lawsuit against Saint Joseph London and other agencies associated with the hospital. One attorney handling most of the cases said this is not the first time.
A Laurel County man was one of the first people to file a lawsuit against the hospital along with doctors and others involved with the facility.
“I have been to several of the same group of doctors and it is always the same everyone that comes out of them you will hear the same thing,” said 67-year-old Edward Marshall.
After undergoing multiple heart procedures, like heart catheterizations, stents and even getting a pacemaker, Marshall said he felt something was not right. He said after seeing another specialist outside of the area, he thought the diagnosis did not match the treatment.
Marshall said when he heard other patients saying they were getting the same procedures he thought it would be wise to get a second opinion.
“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.”
Marshall's suit was filed around a year ago, but the more than 300 others involved sought legal action this year.
Around 30 lawsuits were filed by Louisville attorney Hans Poppe last year alone. Poppe is handling most of the suits filed this year as well. Lawsuit documents claim patients were given unnecessary heart procedures which information from the American Heart Association indicates has serious risks, including death in some cases. One man filed a lawsuit last year, saying he thought something was wrong when he had to go to the doctor for several heart procedures.
“Apparently they were not following those guidelines,” said Marshall.
“If they had been following them, most of these procedures wouldn't be done.”
Marshall said he had diseased arteries in his legs that he wondered could be a result of the multiple procedures for catheterization he went through.
The lawsuits make several claims including various forms of negligence and fraud against the hospital, agencies and doctors.
Specific claims include negligence/gross negligence, lack of informed consent, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and fraudulent concealment; negligent hiring, credentialing, supervision and privileging; unjust enrichment, violation of the Consumer Protection Act and loss of consortium against the hospital, the cardiologists, and its billing agencies.
Catholic Health Initiatives, the company that owns the London hospital, along with Saint Joseph Health System Inc., Saint Joseph London, Premier Heart and Vascular Center, London Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Cardiovascular Specialists PSC, Cardiovascular Specialists of the Cumberlands PLLC, The Heart Center, Heart Clinic of Southeast Kentucky PSC, and The Medical Specialists of Kentucky PSC are some of the defendants involved.
Heart doctors, also formally known as “cardiologists” listed in the lawsuit include Drs. Oluwole Abe, Ashwini Anand, Anis Chalhoub, Satybrata Chatterjee, Minoo Kavarana, Olawale Olatunji, Sandesh Patil, Suresh Rekhraj, Srikanth Sadhu, James H. Shoptaw, and Raul L. Vilca.
The management and billing organizations for the doctors are also named in the lawsuit, Management Service Organization and MSO of Kentucky, Inc.
“You say, oh you saved my life, that's wonderful, but then you think well did he save my life or not, is he trying to put a wad of money in his pocket?”
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.
The claims also state hospital officials were knowledgeable of what was going on and did not check patients’ record history before allowing doctors to administer treatments for the supposed conditions.
Sharon Hershberger, Public Affairs Director for the hospital released a statement that said "We are aware of the lawsuit and take the allegations seriously. We will thoroughly review the complaint and respond accordingly. We cannot comment further on pending litigation."
Marshall said “this had to stop” and he did not want anyone else to go through what he endured.
Poppe said there were approximately 288 cardiac patients and around 40 to 50 spouses of former patients involved in the most recent suit.
Eleven of the more than 300 former patients involved in the lawsuit are dead.
“I would say if they have got over 300 like they say, there's probably another 400-500 people that do not want to get involved or are scared to get involved,” Marshall said.