Judge Approves Settlement Related to Allegedly Unnecessary Cardiac Procedures at Redding Medical Center
A Shasta County judge on Wednesday approved a $24 million settlement in a civil lawsuit involving 769 former patients treated at Redding Medical Center and four cardiologists whom the plaintiffs allege over several years performed invasive and unnecessary heart surgeries, the Sacramento Bee reports (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 1/13).
Officials for Tenet Healthcare, which in July 2004 sold the facility, in 2003 agreed to pay $54 million to settle federal allegations that two Redding physicians performed unnecessary heart surgeries and defrauded Medicare. Under the settlement, Tenet retained all liability for damages related to lawsuits filed since October 2002 over the alleged unnecessary heart surgeries.
Tenet in December 2004 announced plans to establish a $395 million fund for the cardiac patients and their families to settle the lawsuit (California Healthline, 12/22/2004). The settlement approved Wednesday brings to $419 million the total penalties paid in the patients' lawsuit against Tenet, Redding and the cardiologists.
Robert Simpson, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, would not disclose specific details about how the settlement was reached. He also said the majority of the award would be distributed among 645 patients who underwent the most invasive and risky procedures.
No cardiologist in the case has been charged with a crime, but a federal grand jury probe of the case is continuing. Four of the cardiologists in the federal investigation have refused to settle, and a trial of 10 individual patient cases is scheduled to begin July 25 (Sacramento Bee, 1/13).