A Cleveland-area cardiologist is being investigated by the FBI and his work is being probed by three Northeast Ohio hospitals to determine if he unnecessarily placed stents in the hearts of patients.
According to an FBI spokeswoman, the agency has seized financial papers, patient files and other records from the medical office of Westlake cardiologist Dr. Harry Persaud. The three hospitals covered include Westlake’s St. John Medical Center (jointly owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals), Fairview Hospital in Cleveland (a Cleveland Clinic hospital) and Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, which has a partnering agreement with University Hospitals.
According to the State Medical Board of Ohio’s website, Persaud, 53, was born in London and graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School at the University of London in 1983. The state board site also states that it has taken no formal action against him. Persaud is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties.
St. John officials were first notified of concerns about Persaud’s work in February when staff members in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab told cardiology department officials that the doctor wasn’t performing stent procedures the same way as other doctors. According to St. John’s chief medical officer, the hospital immediately started an internal investigation and called in an outside expert. The expert reviewed 30 of Persaud’s cases and determined that 23 patients unnecessarily received stents.
The public was first made aware about questions concerning Persaud’s work in August. That’s when St. John Medical Center sent letters of apology to the 23 patients, telling them they may have had stents placed in their hearts unnecessarily at the hospital during the previous two years. The Medical Executive Committee at St. John Medical Center recommended to hospital trustees that the doctor’s privileges be revoked. Persaud has appealed and a hearing will be held. Until then, he has been suspended and cannot practice there.
At the same time, Southwest said it had begun an internal review of similar cases the doctor performed at their facility. A spokesman said they had found no evidence of improper care but the investigation is ongoing.
A week later, Fairview Hospital announced it, too, was investigating Persaud’s work and contacting his stent patients. According to hospital officials, Persaud resigned from the hospital’s staff in January.
In September, a 53-year-old Cleveland man filed a lawsuit against Persaud and St. John Medical Center in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court claiming he received a stent he did not need. The lawsuit says that actions by Persaud and the hospital “were so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree that they go beyond all possible bounds of decency and may be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
The suit, which asks for a jury trial, also says that St. John officials knew that Persaud would perform fraudulent medical treatment and had developed a pattern of incompetence or inappropriate behavior but failed to limit his privileges before Barber was treated.
Doctors performing unnecessary medical procedures are a serious concern, and need to be dealt with strongly. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 30 percent of health care expenditures in the U.S. go toward tests, procedures, doctor visits, hospital stays and other services that many medical experts say do not improve patients’ health. Even more distressing than the financial waste is the risk these procedures can pose to patients’ well-being. Anytime a patient undergoes a medical procedure, there is a risk something can go wrong. There is no reason they should unnecessarily put their lives at risk in this way.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of unnecessary medical procedures, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Elk & Elk today. We will put our nearly 50 years’ of experience and our vast resources to work for you, to help you get the results you deserve. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out or online consultation form to find out how we can help you.