(CBS) — A fellow doctor has come forward, complaining about unnecessary heart implant surgery performed at Munster, Ind. hospitals.
One area cardiologist, Arvind Gandhi, is already being sued. Now, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov has learned, the allegations could be the tip of a very large iceberg.
“I just feel the truth needs to come out,” says northwest Indiana cardiologist and electrophysiologist Scott Kaufman.
He knows he’s taking a risk by speaking out now. Kaufman works out of several Indiana hospitals, including those in the Munster Community system.
He claims cardiologists there are performing certain heart procedures without proper certification — and that hospital officials know it.
“I’m fairly certain there are no letters, that there was no proctorship, no training and so forth … for the implanting cardiologists that are putting in defibrillators,” Kaufman says.
Included, Kaufman says, is Gandhi, now the subject of two malpractice suits alleging he performed unnecessary and harmful implants.
Dr. Kaufman says his concern isn’t new. He and his associates wrote a letter to hospital officials nine years ago, urging them to make all cardiologists get the recommended training. He says he approached a top hospital executive directly.
“I told him this is not appropriate, they’re not trained to be doing this. He said he’d look into it. But nothing ever came of it,” he says.
Kaufman says the motivation for doing the procedures is financial.
Credentials allowing cardiologists to perform defibrillator implants are strongly recommended by groups like the Heart Rhythm Society but not legally mandated.
CBS reached out to Munster Community Hospital asking for a response to these specific allegations. A spokesperson says they need a chance to review the contents of the allegations before commenting.