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Eastern Shore Doctor Gets Jail Time For Placing Unnecessary Stents In Heart Patients

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A landmark judgment against a Maryland doctor. He is slapped with a harsh sentence for defrauding dozens of patients.

Mike Hellgren has patient reaction to the judge’s decision.

The once-respected Dr. John McLean will serve a little more than eight years in prison and payback more than half a million dollars for placing unnecessary stents in more than 100 patients on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

A jury convicted him of falsifying medical records and defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. He told the judge at sentencing he was a broken man but never apologized.

A stent is a mesh tube used to open a blocked artery. It can be a life-saver but in McLean’s case, the judge said the motive was money.

Erica Bowen’s mother was one of the patients who got a stent from Dr. McLean.

Hellgren: “Do you think he should have said, I’m sorry?”

Bowen: “At this point, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have any anger at this point. I just have sadness at what my mother had to go through.”

Dr. McLean is one of several doctors in trouble over unnecessary stents. Dr. Mark Midei, who was a star cardiologist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, is accused of implanting hundreds of them. He denies the allegations and has not been criminally charged but did lose his medical license in Maryland.

The case has prompted legislation to protect patients.

“Patients in this sort of situation have expectations the doctor is going to be honest with them, they’re going to be motivated by his best interest and not his financial interests,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Prosecutors said Dr. McLean thought he was king of the cath lab and they hope the sentence sends a strong message.

“This case is not second-guessing a reasonable medical judgement,” Rosenstein said. “This is about a doctor who is simply committing a fraud.”

Dr. McLean pleaded with the judge not to send him to jail right away. He said he wanted to wait until after his 60th birthday in January. The judge agreed, so he is free for now. He is likely to serve about 85 percent of that sentence.

Dr. McLean is from Baltimore and graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School.

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