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A Northwest Indiana cardiologist at the center of several recent medical malpractice lawsuits has announced his plans to retire.

In a letter to patients last week, Dr. Arvind Gandhi said his last day will be Dec. 19. His practice, Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana, has locations in Munster and Hammond and will continue to operate after he retires.

"Many of you know that I have been looking forward to this for some time, as it will give me an opportunity to spend more time with my family," he writes, recommending that patients select one of his colleagues for their future care. He has been in practice for 33 years.

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Gandhi, along with two of his associates and Community Hospital in Munster, have recently been named in dozens of lawsuits alleging they did unnecessary surgical procedures to bill insurers. The plaintiffs' attorneys say more suits are likely forthcoming.

"I find it very coincidental that Dr. Gandhi has chosen to retire from the practice in the midst of significant litigation centered around allegations that he performed a vast number of unnecessary surgeries," said Merrillville attorney Barry Rooth, who represents some of the plaintiffs. "Unfortunately, neither he nor the hospital have taken steps to alert his patients to the fact that they may have undergone procedures and device implantations that were not medically necessary. We hope that happens soon."

A lawyer for Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana said Gandhi has been contemplating retirement for the past year and a half, and that the lawsuits didn't influence his decision. Gandhi turns 65 in March.

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.