Showdown: Dr. Mark Midei and Stents

Is this stent appropriate?Maryland interventional cardiologist Dr. Mark G. Midei, who has been under investigation for “implanting unnecessary stents” in heart patients, has penned a defense of his medical practice, his first comment on the subject since the charges were made. Appearing as a Commentary in tomorrow’s Baltimore Sun, Midei’s article is titled “I acted in the patients’ best interests“.

I’ve covered this particular issue previously (“Stent Accusations: The U.S. Senate Tries to Drum Up COURAGE“). In that article, Angioplasty pioneer, Dr. William O’Neill, who was hired by Midei’s lawyer to review the cases…and found nothing glaringly wrong…posed a question to me, expressing his concern over the situation:

“…this is the kind of media circus that destroys the lives and reputations of innocent people. And we have this culture now of “guilty until proven innocent.” Both of the articles in the New York Times and in the Wall Street Journal just started all of this with the assumption that Midei has been guilty of something…. And the initial premise is incorrect.

“So when do we correct the record for this guy when all is said and done? He’s going to be exonerated at his trial. He hasn’t been convicted of any crime and there haven’t been any medical sanctions brought against him, so for God’s sake, give the guy the presumption of innocence until something is actually proven that he did wrong.”

We will soon see if Dr. Midei’s career gets reborn (you know, it’s Spring, Easter weekend, bulbs and buds, etc. etc.) — his licensure hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, before the Maryland Board of Physicians.

In an interesting side-note, part of the response to these issues was that the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and the Maryland Chapter of ACC had pushed for a bill in the Maryland legislature that would set up a study group for accrediting cath labs and providing uniform protocols for decision-making about stents.

Makes sense.

But according to Reed Miller’s report in, that bill was nixed last week, due to the lobbying efforts of unnamed special-interest groups. To clarify: the ACC and SCAI represent cardiologists — in other words the doctors’ groups wanted to set up a system of oversight and they met resistance…from…???

Also, a shout out to Larry Husten who brought Dr. Midei’s commentary to my attention on his blog Cardiobrief.

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