BECKLEY - At least 15 more lawsuits have been filed against Raleigh General Hospital for allegations if a surgeon at the hospital performing unnecessary cardiac procedures on patients.
The lawsuits involve the hospital, Dr. Donald Kenneth Glaser, Lifepoint Health Inc., Lifepoint Hospitals Inc. and Lifepoint WV Holdings Inc. as defendants in the suits.
June Underwood; Mark Tincher; Roy Lane Neal; Daniel Mark Carr; Edith Marie Cook; Dessil Irene Farrish; David Shane Adkins; Sherry Lee Jones; Ramona Elizabeth Cosby-Saunders; Gary Eugene Johnston; Calvin Ray Kidd; Mary Ellen Bowling; Glenda Renea Blankenship; and Shirley M. Brown and Robert L. Brown all had cardiac procedures done by Glaser at Raleigh General between 2010 and 2013, according to the 15 complaints filed June 4, June 5, June 24 and June 30 in Raleigh Circuit Court.
In 2008, Raleigh General performed 107 cardiac procedures. In 2009, the hospital performed 350 cardiac procedures, an increase of more than 300 percent.
In 2010, during Glaser's first full year as the director of Raleigh General's interventional cardiology unit, the number of cardiac procedures rose to 1,745. In 2011, the hospital performed approximately 1,700 cardiac procedures and in 2012, performed 2,109 cardiac procedures.
In 2013, Glaser's tenure at Raleigh General ended and he worked in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 2013 until November 2013 and then moved to Waldorf, Md., where he stayed for approximately one year.
In October, Glaser applied for employment with the Beckley VA Medical Center to work as a cardiologist and when the medical center contacted Beckley General to investigate Glaser's credentials and background, Beckley General did not inform the medical center that Glaser was the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the suits.
The Beckley VA Medical Center offered Glaser an offer of employment in January and on Feb. 13, just days after news agencies reported that Glaser was under investigation, Glaser rescinded his acceptance of the offer of employment by the medical center.
The plaintiffs were not aware until January that Glaser was being investigated for unnecessary cardiac procedures and claim the defendants actively concealed this important information from the plaintiffs and other patients.
In January, Raleigh identified a number of patients and sent letters to them, indicating that their cardiac procedures "may not have been medically indicated," according to the letter.
In the letter, the hospital stated that it had recently undertaken a review of some angioplasty/stent procedures done at its facility and through that process, had determined that some of the procedures had not been medically necessary.
Raleigh General is a subsidiary of LifePoint Hospitals Inc., which is based in Brentwood, Tenn.
On Feb. 12, LifePoint indicated that it had self-reported the improper interventional cardiology procedures, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
LifePoint self-reported the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice after discovering two cardiologists conducted improper procedures at Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma, Ala., and at Raleigh General.
Neither cardiologist is still practicing at any LifePoint-affiliated hospital. By December, at least 15 lawsuits were filed against Vaughan Regional, as well as its former cardiologist, Dr. Seydi V. Aksut.
On Sept. 16, 2013, LifePoint, Vaughan and Raleigh made a voluntary self-disclosure to the Civil Division of the DOJ, according to the SEC filing.
"The voluntary self-disclosure related to concerns regarding the clinical appropriateness of certain interventional cardiology procedures conducted by one physician in each of these hospitals' cardiac catheterization laboratories," the filing stated.
On Sept. 24, 2013, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of West Virginia served a subpoena on Raleigh General Hospital and the hospital produced responsive documents to the subpoena, including patient files, according to the filing.
" The government investigations are ongoing and we continue to cooperate with the government in addressing these matters," the filing stated. "Following reviews by independent interventional cardiologists, we notified patients of these two physicians who may have received an unnecessary procedure of such fact. Our efforts to locate and notify a relatively small number of these patients are ongoing."
LifePoint released a statement, stating the hospital values the trust and confidence of its patients and communities place in its hospitals and that it regrets any concern the matter may cause. The hospital also stated that it would continue to work to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Ben Salango and Brett Preston of Preston & Salango PLLC; Robert V. Berthold Jr. and Matthew C. Berthold of Berthold Law Firm PLLC; Arden J. Curry II of Pauley Curry; Anthony J. Sparacino Jr. of Sparacino Law Office; P. Gregory Hadda and John Barrett of Bailey & Glasser LLP; and Paul W. Roop II.
In February, the first lawsuit against the hospital and Lifepoint was filed in Raleigh Circuit Court.
Earl Douglas Johnson was 84 when Glaser performed two cardiac catheterizations and placed a total of three stents into his arteries. Johnson claims the procedures were not medically necessary and that Raleigh General was negligent in hiring and retaining Glaser as its employee.
Johnson claims the defendants were negligent in credentialing and/or re-credentialing Glaser. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Raleigh Circuit Court case number: 15-C-495, 15-C-505, 15-C-506, 15-C-516, 15-C-517, 15-C-519, 15-C-520, 15-C-542, 15-C-548, 15-C-561, 15-C-566, 15-C-659, 15-C-663, 15-C-669