Embattled Mark Midei Speaks: Meets Lawsuits by Filing His Own in "Unnecessary-Stenting" Saga

Shelley Wood

October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010 (Baltimore, Maryland) — The interventional cardiologist accused by a Maryland hospital of implanting stents in more than 500 patients who didn't need them is fighting back with a lawsuit of his own, suing his former employers on four counts, asking $60 million in compensatory damages.

Dr Mark Midei's suit, filed in the circuit court for Baltimore this morning, charges St Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) and its umbrella company, Catholic Health Initiatives Inc, on counts of: fraud; invasion of privacy/false light; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and interference with economic relations. The complicated case hinges on the fact that the hospital took the unusual step of contacting patients to tell them they may have not needed their stents, only to later acknowledge, according to the suit, that each case had not been fully reviewed.

Midei's lawsuit comes within weeks of more than 100 lawsuits filed by former patients, naming both him and SJMC, alleging conspiracy, negligence, and fraud.

Midei Speaks

Speaking with heartwire after his suit was filed, Midei said: "I've listened to the advice of counsel for the past 18 months, and I've kept silent despite a strong desire to tell my side of the story. And now, this is an opportunity to tell my side and provide the reasons for my vindication."

According to Midei's suit, St Joseph waged "an epic campaign of corporate deception, trickery, and fraud that has resulted in the complete destruction of Dr Midei." In over 52 pages, the suit traces a tangled history of allegedly profit-motivated actions by the hospital and its parent company against Midei.

To heartwire , Midei called some of his former hospital's allegations "preposterous" and decried the "chilling effect" his predicament has had on the practice of interventional cardiology across the US.

I've listened to the advice of counsel for the past 18 months, and I've kept silent despite a strong desire to tell my side of the story.

He also staunchly defended all of the cases he performed at St Joseph, rejecting all allegations that any stent implantations were not medically warranted.

"At the time that I did these procedures, they were done with the best of intentions--patients were treated as if they were my father or my mother, my sister or my brother. I believe in what I did," he stated. "As the science changes, it's possible that if the same case came in today, I would approach it potentially differently than I did in 2006, but I think my approach was identical to other doctors in this town and across the country."

Midei's medical license is still active in the state of Maryland, but he does not have hospital privileges at any hospitals: St Joseph had required him to cancel privileges at all other Maryland hospitals when he joined their staff and then later canceled them at St Joseph.

The Maryland board of physicians also conducted a review of Midei's cases, filed professional charges in the summer, and met with him privately August 4, 2010. According to his lawyer, Stephen Snyder, his case is still under review with the board and is "confidential," but the board was "very receptive to [Midei's] side of the story."

Asked if he hopes to practice interventional cardiology again, Midei paused for several seconds before answering. "I would dearly hope so; it's really the thing I love to do and what I'm trained to do and what I'm best at."

St Joseph Responds

St Joseph has issued a statement saying it has not yet been served and therefore cannot address the specifics of the lawsuit but that "SJMC will vigorously defend itself in this matter and believes the facts will support it."

The statement continues: "Throughout the review of stent cases at SJMC and the patient-notification process, SJMC has been guided by a belief that it had a moral and ethical responsibility to put patients' interests first. . . . SJMC has worked closely and cooperatively with both the state and federal governments in their inquiries. SJMC notified and has provided updates to the appropriate state and federal regulatory bodies, including the Maryland Board of Physicians, the National Practitioner Data Bank, Maryland Office of Health Care Quality, and the Joint Commission."

This story will be updated: check back for additional details.

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