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Could the use of a stent be medical malpractice in Louisiana?

The use of a stent when a patient has a heart attack seems to have become commonplace for many cardiologists. New evidence is coming to light that indicates doctors are overusing and misusing stents, and many patients, including some here in Louisiana, have suffered serious injuries or even death as a result. If it can be determined that the procedure was unnecessary or incorrectly performed, a case for medical malpractice could be made.

The use of stents can weaken the arteries they are meant to help. There may be thousands of patients each year that really don't require a stent. These patients may be better served through medication or diet and exercise.

It has been estimated that nearly $2.4 billion worth of healthcare costs each year are attributable to a patient receiving an unnecessary stent. Patients who have received stents run the risk of developing blood clots and scar tissue that could cause additional blockage. In addition, there is the possibility that a patient's life could be at risk from bleeding while on anti-clotting, blood thinning medication.

There are a lot of patients who legitimately need an arterial stent in order to save their lives. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of patients for whom the procedure to implant a stent is considered optional. There could be other ways of saving these patients lives without putting them at further risk. There are many people in Louisiana who may have a case for medical malpractice either for themselves or on behalf of a family member that died due to a stent being put in place needlessly.

Source: Bloomberg, Deaths Linked to Cardiac Stents Rise as Overuse Seen, Peter Waldman, David Armstrong and Sydney P. Freedberg, Sept. 26, 2013