Lawmakers Propose Bill To Regulate Stents

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There was another critical debate in Annapolis Wednesday.  This one focused on protecting hearts in Maryland after many learned they were offered a stent procedure they did not need.  Lawmakers are working to better regulate the surgery.

Mike Hellgren reports.

This puts some teeth into regulations and would make Maryland a national leader in accreditation for these stent operations.

Maryland is considering tough new regulations that would protect heart patients from unnecessary operations.  The push is an aftershock from the scandal that shook the medical community to its core: the dramatic fall of onetime star cardiologist Dr. Mark Midei, accused of putting hundreds of unnecessary stents—tiny mesh devices that unclog arteries—in his patients at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.

“Patients are getting all this bad information and patients are not understanding how to seek good quality care,” said Dr. Mark Turco.

The new legislation would require labs hold special certification, that they be subjected to the review of their peers and the state come up with guidelines to prevent unneeded, expensive and potentially dangerous operations.

“I think I deserve this information and I think every patient does,” said patient Jim Starnes.

The Midei case has prompted other states to consider similar regulations. Midei is also accused of having a relationship that was too cozy with a major stent manufacturer but has denied any wrongdoing.

“The cases that I was doing were the same kinds of cases that were provided to patients across the U.S.,” Midei said.

At $10,000 each, the stent operations are lucrative and lawmakers, doctors and patients who support tighter controls say decisions should be based on what’s best for the patient.

If this passes, it would not go into effect until 2014.

Right now, Dr. Mark Midei and St. Joseph face dozens of lawsuits from patients and Midei is suing St. Joseph, claiming the hospital destroyed his reputation.

More from Mike Hellgren
Comments

One Comment

  1. Herman Glimsher says:

    THAT’S WHAT WE NEED……………POLITICIANS DECIDING WHO SHOULD GET SURGERY…………….ALL OF THEM COMBINED CAN’T CHANGE A LIGHT BULB AND NOW THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE OVERSIGHT FOR SURGERIES!!!!!

  2. pigeon says:

    There is no one in Annapolis who has neither the right or knowledge to decide who does and who doesn’t get stents. That’s what 2nd opinions are for. However, when there is an emergency situation, the surgeon has to make a medical decision regarding stents. That’s what happened to me and let me tell you, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. I LOVE LIVING! I am thankful God gave my doctor the knowledge to do what he did/does.

  3. Sheila Flanigan says:

    11 stents and still ticking. and grateful for all 110,000 worth of stenting in me. I live.because if of stents.

  4. gerrygriff says:

    Three stents for mi in “99” didn’t work less than three months later I was wheeled into the OR & had triple by-pass surgery @ Hopkins. Eleven yrs later I’m still kicking & thankful. Oh I had a heart attack which started this whole thing off & was told that recent chemo had scarred my veins & arteries & was most likely a factor. Sometimes they work & sometimes no. I was taken to St.Joseph’s a few years ago on suspicion of H.A. & they ran a group of tests on me for a week & told me that I needed to be cared for by chemical drugs the rest of my life. The care & service I received @ St. Josephs was fabulous & this was before the scandal in 2005. Thank you St. Joe’s

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