The next civil trial of a Munster cardiologist accused of performing unnecessary surgeries is scheduled to begin April 9.
Dr. Arvind Gandhi stands accused by hundreds of patients of implanting unnecessary heart devices. The first such trial ended earlier this month in Gandhi’s favor.
The plaintiff for the next trial, Gloria Sargent, went to see Gandhi in June 2006 for hypotension (low blood pressure), kidney stones and idiopathic cardiomyopathy, according to the complaint.
Gandhi did testing and recommended she get a implantable cardioverter defibrillator, even though she had just gotten a similar device months earlier.
That December, according to the complaint, Gandhi took out her previous device and tried to implant the new device without success. He put the old one back in. Another surgeon later had to implant the new device.
The complaint alleges that Gandhi was negligent in failing to properly review diagnostic results, consider the recommendations of another doctor and adhere to applicable guidelines as to whether her device should have been replaced.
The suit also claims that Gandhi presented himself as a board-certified electrophysiologist when he was not and had not received training in accordance with the Heart Rhythm Society, the electrophysiologists’ national organization.
The complaint says Sargent suffered personal injury, physical pain and mental anguish, sustaining scarring, disfigurement and permanent disability.
Sargent later underwent a heart transplant, she said, because of Gandhi’s actions.
“He hurt me physically, and I may not have had to have the heart transplant so soon, or at all, if it hadn’t been for him,” Sargent said at a 2014 press conference.
In Indiana, medical malpractice claims first have to be reviewed by a medical review panel before they can go to trial. For Sargent’s complaint, the three-member panel unanimously ruled that Gandhi “failed to comply with the appropriate standard of care … regarding the indications for an upgrade to a re-synchronization device.”
“The conduct complained of was a factor in the patient undergoing unnecessary procedures; however, the conduct complained of did not cause the patient any long-term complications or harm,” the panel’s opinion stated.
The lawsuit also names Community Hospital, where Gandhi performed the procedure, and his former practice, Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana. The complaint alleges that the hospital knowingly allowed Gandhi to perform the surgery without proper credentials.
Gandhi retired from practicing medicine in 2015.
This article was first published by Kokomo Perspective.