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(REWATCH) Wells v. Catholic Health Initiatives, $21.3M Verdict in a Pacemaker Case – Case Analysis by Hans Poppe
February 8 @ 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM PST
If you missed the live webinar with Hans Poppe and his case analysis on February 4th, register for this session to watch the recording.
In 2010, Dr. Anis Chalhoub told a 39 year old Kevin Wells that he needed a pacemaker and he was a risk of death without one. Chalhoub also told Kevin he had a 60-80% blockage in his heart that may need to be stented. The following year, with no additional testing, Chalhoub told him Wells he needed the stent now. Wells wanted a second opinion and the second cardiologist told Wells he did not need a stent because the blockage was only 10%, and he also did not need the pacemaker Chalhoub installed. The second physician basically turned it off because attempting to remove it involved a risk of infection or death. The Poppe Law Firm discovered that the physicians in London, KY (including Chalhoub and several others) were engaged in a business arrangement with Catholic Health Initiatives. The systems incentivized the doctors to perform as many cardiology procedures as possible and eliminated any oversight as to medical necessity. The complex financial scheme resulted in cardiology procedures skyrocketing in the community. The Poppe Law firm filed over 400 cases alleging unnecessary cardiology procedures. After these case were filed CHI conducted their own independent review of 12 of his cases as and determined all 12 were medically unnecessary. The first two cases to go to trial resulted in defense verdicts; however, in the third trial a civil jury unanimously determined Dr. Chalhoub implanted an unnecessary pacemaker in Kevin Wells and caused him substantial injuries.
Following this civil verdict, a federal criminal jury found Chalhoub criminally guilty of Medicare healthcare fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1347 and sentenced him to 42 months in prison
In 2016, ALM VerdictSearch Top 100 Verdicts of 2016 recognized the $21,274,786 verdict in Wells v Catholic Health Initiatives, Inc as the 94th largest verdict in the United States. The Wells case was one of over 400 cased filed by the Poppe Law Firm in London, KY alleging unnecessary cardiac procedures were performed in order to boost profits. Three more cases went to trial and ultimately all the cases were globally settled the night before the verdict in the Owens v. CHI trial. The work done by Hans and his team also contributed to a $16,500,000 Medicare qui tam recovery from the hospital and $380,000 from two doctors. Additionally, the work done by the Poppe Law Firm helped lead to the arrest and federal conviction of two other cardiologists for Medicare fraud. Chalhoub was sentenced to 42 months and the other was sentenced to 30 months.
- Dogged determination is required to win mass tort cases. You have to be willing to get punched in the mouth a few times. Never let them see you sweat.
- Keeping clients informed at every stage of the litigation is paramount in getting buy in for global mass tort settlements.
- Organize, organize, organize. Build out your infrastructure.
- Autopsy your losses. Then be water.
- Remove everything you don’t need from the case, including defendants. KISS
- GO higher in the food chain to find responsibility. Follow the money.