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Lawsuits say Munster cardiologist inserted unneeded defibrillators

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A Lake County cardiologist sued for performing surgeries to insert heart defibrillators that two patients say they didn’t need may have performed other such unnecessary procedures, attorneys say.

A consortium of law firms Wednesday announced action against Dr. Arvind Gandhi and Munster Community Hospital. Two former patients, Gloria Sargent and Raymond Kammer, claim Gandhi operated on them and inserted defibrillators that weren’t needed.

Kammer was 25 at the time Gandhi implanted the device. Ghandi recommended implanting the device before first attempting more conservative treatment.

 Sargent had received a defibrillator nine months earlier that Gandhi recommended be upgraded, and she later required a heart transplant, according to information contained in their civil lawsuits.

Medical Review Panels found Gandhi did not meet an appropriate standard of care in either case and that the procedures were unnecessary. The panels found evidence did not support such determinations regarding the hospitals, and that Gandhi’s medical license should not be reviewed for fitness to practice.

Last month, Kammer and Sargent each filed suits in Lake Circuit Court naming as defendants Gandhi; his practice, Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana, P.C.; and Munster Community Hospital. The suits allege medical negligence, assert Gandhi wasn’t properly credentialed, and state claims for breach of contract.

 “It is unknown at this time just how many other patients have had unnecessary surgeries at the hands of Dr. Gandhi,” Lowell attorney Paul Rossi, who filed the suits, said in a statement. “My prior investigation and discoveries into Dr. Gandhi and Munster Community Hospital as it relates to Mr. Kammer and Ms. Sargent lead me to be very concerned for many others.”

Joining Rossi in seeking other potential claimants are the law firms Theodoros & Rooth P.C. of Merrillville and Cohen & Malad LLP of Indianapolis.

Attorneys noted that Gandhi ranked 19th out of 22,241 cardiologists nationwide in Medicare billings for 2012. He was reimbursed almost $2.18 million, more than any cardiologist in Indiana.

An official at Munster Community Hospital did not respond to a message seeking comment. In a statement to media on Wednesday, the hospital said the claims previously had been rejected.

“There are no new allegations against Dr. Gandhi or Community Hospital,” the hospital said in a statement. “Community has filed a motion to dismiss the malpractice cases against it because the medical review panel found in favor of the hospital.”
 

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