Munster cardiologist accused of implanting unnecessary devices

2014-05-07T18:00:00Z 2014-05-08T23:54:08Z Munster cardiologist accused of implanting unnecessary devicesVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

A Munster cardiologist is being sued by two former patients who claim he performed unnecessary surgeries using improper devices and was not qualified to do the work.

Dr. Arvind Gandhi is the subject of malpractice lawsuits filed by Gloria Sargent, 47, of Griffith, and Raymond Kammer, 32, an Ohio man who used to live in Hammond. 

Both civil lawsuits allege medical negligence, negligent credentialing and breach of contract. The defendants named are Gandhi, Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana and Community Hospital.

Community Hospital officials said Wednesday the allegations involved in the suit have no merit.

“There was no basis for any of the allegations made against Community Hospital in 2008. Following an extensive investigation, the Department of Justice and the Federal Court dismissed all claims against the Hospital in 2012," Community Hospital marketing director Marie Forszt stated in an email Wednesday.

Kammer said he was persuaded at age 25 to have unnecessary surgery for an implant cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, which is similar to a pacemaker. A second physician recommended against it, saying his condition could be controlled with medication, but Kammer said Gandhi scared him.

"He put the fear of God in me," Kammer said. "When you have a doctor, a person you trust, sitting there looking you in the eye ... and you can run the risk of dying and you're 25 years old, it's pretty intimidating."

Gandi's attorney said it is their practice not to comment on litigation.

Kammer alleges the device that was implanted in him has defective parts, and he doesn't know when or where they may give out.

He said he was advised to contact attorney Paul Rossi to investigate the matter. 

Rossi said he believes there may be other cases in the area, referencing a 2011 whistle-blower lawsuit with similar allegations. 

An official with Community Hospital said Sargent and Kammer filed separate malpractice cases in 2008 against Gandhi and Community Hospital.

"A medical review panel found that the hospital complied with the standard of care. These two individuals are now proceeding to take their cases to court, and are re-filing their claims," Forszt stated. "There are no new allegations against Dr. Gandhi or Community Hospital. Community has filed a motion to dismiss the malpractice cases against it because the medical review panel found in favor of the hospital."

Sargent said she was treated by Gandhi in 2006 for a cardiomyopathy. She had received an ICD nine months earlier, but Gandhi recommended she let him implant an "upgraded" device. 

Sargent underwent a heart transplant Aug. 4.

"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," she said.

Other physicians who examined Sargent and Kammer alerted them to investigate whether they needed the implantation, said Barry Rooth, an attorney with Theodoros & Rooth, P.C.

"My biggest concern is: I'm worried that he's done the same thing to other people," Kammer said.

Kammer and Sargent are being represented by attorneys from Theodoros & Rooth, P.C., Cohen & Malad LLP — who obtained a settlement for 288 clients against former Merrillville surgeon Mark Weinberger — and the law office of Paul A. Rossi LLC.

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