The Indiana doctor and his colleagues performed unnecessary surgeries that were big money-makers.
After six years, a $ 66.5 million settlement was reached between an Indiana cardiology group and lawyers made up of 260 patients who claimed the group performed unnecessary heart procedures and device implants. Theodoros & Rooth of Merrillville and Cohen & Malad LLP of Indianapolis represented patients who were Dr. Arvind Gandhi, his associates at Cardiology Associates in northwest Indiana and at the Community Hospital in Munster, sued.
The lawsuits alleged that “Gandhi and his staff performed unnecessary pacemaker and defibrillator implantations, open heart surgery, angiograms, and stentings because the procedures entail high financial reimbursements.” The plaintiffs also alleged, “The Community Hospital did not respond to warnings from other hospital doctors about Gandhi.”
The defendants “deny that they acted negligently or otherwise inappropriately and disclaim all liability in relation to the claims,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said. “The specific terms of the settlement are confidential. Applicants’ documents or their estates are filled in to finalize the settlement. “
Photo by Jesse Orrico on Unsplash
When Dr. Mark Dixon, former medical director of the electrophysiology laboratory at Community Hospital, where defibrillators were implanted, expressed concern to a hospital director in 2005 about whether Dr. Gandhi and others were qualified to have the devices implanted, his investigation fell on deaf ears.
“The response to me was,” I understand your concern, but we have a very great producer here who wants the privilege, “said Dr. Dixon in a statement. He said he was” later asked to review the im Hospital to discontinue implants performed by the nurse manager of the laboratory “.
“Cardiology, whether we like it or not, is generally a big money maker for hospitals,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic and past president of the American College of Cardiology. “We are still a service system and I believe this creates the wrong incentive for some doctors to perform more procedures and for some facilities, especially in areas where there is no strict medical supervision, to turn a blind eye and enjoy the high revenue streams. “
Medicare public reimbursement records indicate that Dr. Gandhi and his partner, Dr. Wail Asfour and Dr. Satyaprakash Makam, collectively received nearly $ 5 million in Medicare payments in 2012 alone.
Dr. Gandhi came to Münster in 1981 after completing his cardiology fellowship in Chicago.
“He should be the best cardiologist in the area,” said Phil Probus, 86, who had a defibrillator implanted that he later learned was unnecessary. “I never questioned anything he did.”
The doctor retired in the fall of 2015 after a jury ruled him on a civil case and awarded Sharon Greer $ 450,000 in December. In that case, Northwest Indiana-based Gandhi and Cardiology Associates were charged with improperly treating an infection in her husband’s pacemaker, Ken Greer, in October 2011, which resulted in the 65-year-old’s death that same month.
Attorneys for the defendants initially said the lawsuits were unfounded. “The legal action,” they explained, “is being driven by envious doctors eager to take Dr Gandhi’s patients and greedy lawyers looking for a big deal.” Cardiology Associates physicians have exemplary records as outstanding cardiologists and leaders in their fields. “
A small Indiana town drawn by a trusted doctor
Med mal plaintiffs reach a $ 66 million settlement against the northwest Indiana cardiologist
Raised $ 66.5 million in claims against NWI Cardiology Group, hospital