Lawsuit Alleges Hospital Performed Unnecessary Heart Surgeries
Lawnwood Medical Center and Heart Institute in Fort Pierce faces a lawsuit alleging the hospital performed 1,200 unnecessary heart surgeries on patients who did not have serious heart conditions, including the 73-year-old plaintiff. The hospital and its parent company, HCA, inc face the medical malpractice lawsuit on the heels of a pair of qui tam whistleblower complaint over the same allegations.
The claim accuses HCA of performing the unnecessary surgeries to boost hospital profits. An lawyer connected to one of the lawsuits claims as much as 35 percent of HCA’s revenue is tied to cardiac surgeries. HCA owns about 160 hospitals throughout the country, including 46 across Florida.
The plaintiff claims he suffered a debilitating decline in health after undergoing what he claims was a medically unnecessary procedure. After visiting Lawnwood Medical Center complaining of dizzy spells, the victim was diagnosed with complete heart block and needed emergency surgery to install a pacemaker.
Medication available as an alternative to surgery
The plaintiff’s lawyers investigating the claim believe there was only minor blocking of their client’s arteries and the condition was due to low blood pressure. The plaintiff believes his dizzy spells could have been best treated with simple prescription medication.
After several corrective surgeries, the plaintiff alleges he was transformed from a healthy, active adult to an individual constrained by a sedentary lifestyle. The victim was forced into a lengthy hospital stay due to his surgeries, one of which punctured his heart and another resulted in a brief period of cardiac arrest, according to the claim.
Qui tam whistleblower lawsuits
The 29-page complaint cites a pair of federal false claims act lawsuits levied against HCA in 2015 as evidence of the company’s history of fraud. A former nurse who became aware of the alleged wrongdoing brought the civil lawsuit on behalf of the government to hold HCA responsible.
Whistleblower lawsuits are an important tool the government utilizes to expose and punish fraud, waste, and abuse of government programs. Under The False Claims Act, intentionally perpetrating fraud against the government is punishable by severe fines and restitution and private citizens who expose the unscrupulous behavior may be entitled to a portion of any recovery by the government.
Common examples of fraud against the government include:
- Healthcare fraud involving federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid;
- Contractor fraud of defense contracts;
- Energy royalty fraud;
- Improper disaster relief claims; and
- Misuse of federal education grants.
West Palm Beach whistleblower lawsuits
If you have intricate knowledge on an individual or organization defrauding any type of federal or state program, you may be entitled to compensation for exposing the wrongdoing. Individuals who successfully prosecute federal False Claims Act lawsuits may be awarded between 15 to 30 percent of the recovery and a reward for their efforts.
Claimants must be represented by an lawyer to bring federal whistleblower claims. The West Palm Beach whistleblower lawyers of The Pendas Law Firm regularly represent clients in these types of suits and are ready to help you get justice for taxpayers being ripped off by illegal activity.
Contact our office for a free consultation about your case. Our lawyers represent clients in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, and Jacksonville.