Some ex-patients, former hospital owner reach deal in stent cases

Lawyers have reached settlements in two pending class action cases alleging that former cardiologist Mark G. Midei performed unnecessary stent procedures at St. Joseph Medical Center, according to the hospital's former owner.

Michael Romano, a spokesman for Catholic Health Initiatives, which used to own the Towson medical center, said the agreements will resolve the cases.

"The parties executed the settlement to avoid the uncertainties and costs of continued litigation, and the settlement does not include any admission of liability," Romano said in a statement.

Romano declined to comment further. Under terms of the hospital's sale to the University of Maryland Medical System, Catholic Health Initiatives is responsible for any liabilities stemming from the lawsuits.

The medical company, the hospital and Midei faced a wave of lawsuits over allegations that the former cardiologist exaggerated the medical problems of his patients so he could perform the expensive stent procedures, which are supposed to prop open clogged blood vessels.

On Monday, a Baltimore circuit judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement in a class action case filed there and scheduled a May hearing to finalize it, according to online court records.

Also on Monday, a federal judge closed legal actions filed by some of Midei's former patients, citing pending settlement agreements.

"It appears that the parties have agreed upon a basis of settlement but will require additional time to consummate the agreement," U.S District Judge Marvin J. Garbis wrote in a court order closing the cases.

Midei was not named as a defendant in the cases in federal and circuit court.

The former patients and Catholic Health Initiatives had been working with a mediator to reach a deal in the federal case since October, according to court documents.

The court records do not describe the terms of the settlement, nor how many people might be involved in the cases. Attorneys for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment.

St. Joseph began warning patients in 2009 that Midei might have unnecessarily put metal stents in their arteries, triggering the lawsuits.

Many of those cases are now winding down — last year, close to 250 plaintiffs settled cases in Baltimore County, signing confidential agreements — but dozens of cases in Baltimore County and the city remain open.

Midei has not been criminally charged and has denied any wrongdoing. He said in an interview that a number of people who have filed lawsuits against him would not be alive had he not acted.

"I have never once questioned the integrity of my decisions or the correctness of my decisions," he said.

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