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$37 Million Settlement Reached In Unnecessary Heart Stent Case

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Thirty-seven million dollars. That's how much the former owners of St. Joseph Medical Center have agreed to pay out in settlement to hundreds of patients who say they were given an unnecessary medical procedure there.

Derek Valcourt has details on the settlement made public Monday.

The sweeping agreement brings to a close all but a handful of the hundreds of stent lawsuits filed against the former owners of St. Joseph Medical Center.

The allegations against world-renowned cardiologist Dr. Mark Midei first surfaced in 2009 when hundreds of St. Joseph Medical Center patients received a letter warning that artery opening stents might have been unnecessarily placed in their bodies.

Many like Vicki Mars filed suit, saying Midei lied about how blocked their arteries really were.

"Dr. Midei said it was 90 percent and after they reviewed everything they said it was 10 percent," Mars said.

"What I did is what I would want for myself," Midei said in 2009.

He denied wrongdoing, but the state revoked his medical license.

And now the hospital's former owner, Catholic Health Initiatives, has agreed to pay a $37 million settlement shared among the 273 plaintiffs in the last outstanding class action suit in the case.

For its part, Catholic Health Initiatives says it agreed to the sweeping settlement to avoid the costs and uncertainties that come with continued litigation without having to admit to any liability.

"Overall it's a great deal for the insurance company that's paying all of these claims," said Steve Silverman, attorney.

Silverman represented clients who have already agreed to confidential stent settlements.

He argues juries might have awarded multi-million dollar verdicts had some of the cases gone to trial

"You multiply that times 100, times 200, times 500, you are talking about potentially a billion dollars in damages and the insurance company is getting out of this -- at least for these 200 plus plaintiffs -- for $30 million -- that's not a bad deal for them," Silverman said.

While both sides have agreed on the settlement, state and federal judges will still have to sign off on the agreement.

Last year, the hospital's owners also reached confidential settlements with dozens of other former Midei patients.

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