Indiana cardiologists sued for alleged unnecessary surgeries

MUNSTER, Ind. (WLS) -- Dozens of people are joining a lawsuit filed against three Northwest Indiana cardiologists as well as Munster Community Hospital for allegedly performing unnecessary procedures.

After two patients announced legal action six months ago, dozens more have come forward accusing three Indiana doctors of medical malpractice and, in some cases, wrongful death. Lawyers say their investigation has revealed that 75 percent of heart procedures were performed unnecessarily.

Debra Davidson has a scar from open heart surgery that she says was never needed. Steve Mayerak says his health will never be the same after multiple heart procedures were performed that he later learned were unnecessary. And Lynn Blosky is convinced her 33-year-old son James died on his way home from the hospital after receiving a pacemaker he didn't need.

Blosky, Mayerek, and Davidson are joining over two dozen other patients who are taking legal action against three doctors from Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana and the hospital where the procedures were performed, Munster Community Hospital.

"I've had 10 angiograms, give defibrillator and pacemakers," says Mayerak, "which I since found out I didn't need any of them."

Mayerak found out those procedures and surgeries were unnecessary by getting second opinions. Lawyers representing patients confirmed the information through videotaped depositions where three Community Hospital cardiologists who reviewed patient cases testified that Dr. Aravind Gandhi, Dr. S. Makam and Dr. Wail Asfour were performing unnecessary procedures.

"Three out of four of these procedures, according to our investigators, were unnecessary," says attorney David Cutshaw.

Attorneys say the motive is money. They say Gandhi, Makam and Asfour are the top three Indiana cardiologists for Medicare reimbursements, and Dr. Gandi is in the top 20 nationwide.

"A defibrillator costs as much as a medium size car," says attorney Barry Rooth. "It is one of the most lucrative admissions a hospital can have."

A spokesperson with Munster's Community Hospital says it is their policy not to comment on ongoing lawsuits. Dr. Gandhi has resigned from the hospital. Patients' lawyers have filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board. Lawyers plan to hold a town hall meeting with more potential patients next week.
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