December 2, 2010 – Austin, TX – A cardiologist has been accused of doing unnecessary heart procedures on several patients, one resulting in the death of a patient, Statesman.com reports. According to accusations by the Texas Medical Board, Dr. Samuel J. DeMaio endangered the lives of 8 patients with his procedures. Five medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against DeMaio. It cannot be determined if the lawsuits were filed by the same patients cited by the medical board, as no names have been released. The details of at least one case do seem to match up. The board states that DeMaio placed multiple stents in “areas of insignificant or only moderate disease.” This is a problem because stents, which are metal mesh tubes used to clear clogged arteries, are only intended for use in very serious circumstances and should not be used in any mild cases of illness. DeMaio also ordered multiple angiograms, a type of x-ray for blood vessels and the heart, on patients who did not have the qualifying symptoms. According to the board, DeMaio placed more than 30 stents in one patient, when the average number should be between 1.2 and 1.4 stents per patient. The patient who died had received more than 20 stents. That patient’s death was caused by shocks from an implanted defibrillator, which the medical board also said was unnecessary. As the chairman of a group building Lakewood Regional Medical Center, which is scheduled to open in 2012, DeMaio says these claims are a part of a “smear campaign” against him and the new hospital. The lawsuits are currently pending in district court.
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