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Westmoreland judge to review status of stent suits

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Westmoreland County judge has scheduled a March 18 status conference for numerous civil cases that allege two cardiologists performed unnecessary heart procedures.

Four more former patients at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg filed lawsuits last week against the health system and doctors Ehab Morcos and George Bou Samra, who no longer work for Excela. An exact count of the lawsuits was not available from Judge Anthony Marsili's court staff.

A review of court filings showed that more than 80 separate suits have been filed by patients who claim that in 2009 and 2010 Morcos or Bou Samra implanted stents — tiny mesh tubes placed into an artery to ease blood flow — that were not medically necessary.

“Much has changed over the past year,” said Robert Rogalski, chief executive officer of Excela, in a prepared statement. “In fact, Excela Health has achieved national recognition for quality standards within our cardiac catheterization lab, emphasizing our focus on patient safety.“

Excela Health sent letters to nearly 200 former stent patients in March and June 2011 informing them that an investigation revealed that they may have undergone medically unnecessary procedures in 2009 and 2010.

Excela Health “is committed to being transparent with our patients, even when the information is less than favorable,” Rogalski said.

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