The first trial of a Munster cardiologist accused by hundreds of patients of implanting unnecessary heart devices is scheduled to start Monday.
Dr. Arvind Gandhi, who retired in 2015, faces roughly 300 lawsuits alleging he performed procedures that weren't needed.
Raymond Kammer, the plaintiff in the civil trial set to start Monday, alleges that he was persuaded in 2007 at age 25 to have a cardiac defibrillator implanted. A second physician allegedly recommended against it, saying his condition could be controlled with medication, but Kammer claimed Gandhi scared him. The complaint alleges Gandhi told Kammer that "unless he underwent the implantation procedure he would meet with immediate fatal demise."
"He put the fear of God in me," Kammer said at a 2014 news conference, according to a Times article from the time. "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."
The complaint states that an angiogram performed on Kammer revealed "no coronary disease," but that Gandhi stated in his report that the plaintiff had "severe coronary artery disease."
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Kammer alleged the device implanted in him has defective parts, and he doesn't know when or where they may give out. The implant was part of a recall months before the surgery, and the lawsuit alleges Gandhi knew that.
Community Hospital, where Gandhi performed the procedures, and Cardiology Associates of Northwest Indiana, Gandhi's former practice, also are named in the lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that Gandhi didn't have the proper training to perform the procedure and that Community Hospital was negligent in letting him do it anyway. The hospital has denied the claims.
The case goes to trial in Lake County Superior Court in Hammond starting at 8:30 a.m. The trial is expected to last three weeks and will begin with jury selection.
Most of the other hundreds of complaints against Gandhi still are waiting to be heard by a state medical review panel before they can go to trial. Another trial, that of plaintiff Gloria Sargent, is scheduled to begin April 9.