Jury awards $21 million to Kentucky patient for unnecessary heart procedures

After receiving unnecessary heart surgeries in a Kentucky hospital, milk truck driver Kevin Wells will be awarded millions of dollars after a judge ruled in his favor.

Wells, who is from Corbin, Kentucky, sued St. Joseph Health System in London, Kentucky, and its parent company, Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), for giving him an unnecessary pacemaker implant.

After a seven-day trial in Laurel Circuit Court, a jury awarded Wells $21 million in damages. The jury found that the hospital and CHI were negligent and failed to obtain informed consent to perform the surgery, said Hans Poppe, one of Wells’ attorneys, the the Courier-Journal reports.

Anis Chalhoub, MD, the cardiologist that implanted the pacemaker in Wells, was indicted in July for performing unnecessary heart procedures between 2007 and 2011, an offense that could land him in prison for up to 10 years.

Evidence in court showed that the company anticipated to make $90 million over three years from heart procedures. Additionally, executives were expected to be given bonuses based on productivity and revenue figures.

Wells wasn’t the only one to file lawsuits. Hundreds of other patients have sued the health system, alleging they were also victims of unnecessary surgeries and implantations of stents and other devices.

The hospital and CHI are likely to appeal in its case against Wells, Poppe told the Courier-Journal, but both have a long road of lawsuits ahead of them.