Mark Midei said in court Wednesday that he may have saved the life of a former patient by placing three stents in the man's heart, disputing the patient's claims in a $50 million lawsuit alleging that the procedure was unnecessary.
Midei's testimony came in Baltimore County Circuit Court, where the former cardiologist is being sued by Baltimore businessman Glenn Weinberg. It's the latest suit against Midei and the former owners of St. Joseph Medical Center, where he worked.
"I am proud of the fact that I fixed him," Midei said of Weinberg, arguing that without them, his patient could have died.
Like other former Midei patients, Weinberg contends the stents — mesh tubes that hold open blocked arteries — resulted in continuing medical complications, emotional troubles and economic losses.
Weinberg attorney Robert J. Weltchek grilled Midei for several hours, questioning the doctor about his procedures when assessing patients for stent procedures. He raised questions about Midei's thoroughness in his evaluations of Weinberg, asking why some observations were not clearly recorded in medical records.
Weltchek repeatedly asked Midei to describe his analysis "so the jury understands your mind-set on November 7, 2006" — the date of Weinberg's treatment.
"We're treating these patients for life. I'm trying to factor in what's going to be the best for him for the rest of his life," Midei said at one point when referring to his findings.
"It's perfectly obvious on film," he said referring to angiograms, medical images that Midei said showed blockages requiring three stents.
Weinberg's lawyers are expected to call expert witnesses who disagree with those findings. They contend that Weinberg's blockages did not fall within widely regarded guidelines for the procedure. However, attorneys for Midei have said the evaluations are not exact — that each medical professional might rate a patient's need for the procedure differently.
Midei, who performed thousands of stent procedures, has said he doesn't remember all the details from Weinberg's case nearly seven years ago. He said his focus was on Weinberg's condition at the time, and that recording certain information was unnecessary.
"I'm there to make his life better and improve the likelihood that he's going to be alive," Midei said, not just record test results. "There's not enough ink or paper in the world to describe what you see."
The attorney also questioned Midei about whether he supervised employees in the catheterization lab where the procedures were performed.
During opening statements, lawyers for the former owners of the hospital said St. Joseph did not have control over medical treatment for Midei's patients. They argued that the facility only provided space for his independent practice.
Midei said hospital employees assisted during stent procedures, but that they reported to other hospital staff — not him.
Midei was forced to resign from St. Joseph in 2009, and his medical license was revoked in 2011. The University of Maryland Medical System bought the troubled hospital last December.