HAMMOND | Did a Munster cardiologist cause a Highland grandfather's death?
That's being argued in a Lake County civil courtroom this week.
Dr. Arvind Gandhi stands accused of not properly treating patient Kenneth Greer's pacemaker infection, which his widow, Sharon, claims led to his death.
Gandhi, who retired last fall, faces scores of other, unrelated medical malpractice complaints claiming he unnecessarily implanted cardiac devices and altered the medical records to look like they were needed.
In September 2011, Kenneth Greer, a manager at Strack & VanTil, went to see Gandhi to have the battery in his pacemaker changed, plaintiff's attorney Barry Rooth said in his opening statement Tuesday. Greer acquired an infection from the procedure and later had to be admitted to the hospital.
Gandhi took out the pacemaker, washed it with antibiotics and reimplanted it, which Rooth said Gandhi should have known wouldn't get rid of the infection. Days later, Greer went to see an infection specialist, who recommended the pacemaker be removed.
Gandhi removed the device and discharged Greer from the hospital but, upon arriving home, he collapsed, Rooth said. Paramedics took him back to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, at age 65. Rooth noted that, because of the procedures, Greer's prescribed blood thinners had to be stopped three times in less than 30 days, and he died from a blood clot.
"He was very close to his family. He loved Sharon and Sharon loved him," Rooth said. "He was her superman."
Gandhi's attorney, David Jensen, argued that the cardiologist consulted with infection specialists and made the decision that ultimately kept the infection from spreading.
Jensen said an infection did not kill Greer, and it's unknown what did, since no autopsy was performed. The attorney also noted the patient had other health issues, including morbid obesity, uncontrolled diabetes and atrial fibrillation.
"What you have in this case is the use of medical judgment. Dr. Gandhi knew his patient. Dr. Gandhi knew what he was confronted with," he said. "This is what a doctor does: make judgments."
One of the jurors was dismissed Tuesday after she informed the judge a family member told her one of Gandhi's associates was responsible for her grandfather's death.