EXCLUSIVE: New details emerge in EAMC cardiologist indictment

EXCLUSIVE: New details emerge in EAMC cardiologist indictment

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - A Birmingham attorney says numerous civil suits will be filed in Lee County, alleging medical negligence on behalf of Dr. John Mitchell.  The attorney says East Alabama Medical Center will also be named as a defendant.

Cardiologist Dr. John Mitchell is accused by the United States Government of fraud and performing unnecessary medical procedures. An Alabama attorney tells News Leader 9 his office plans on filing civil suits against Dr. Mitchell and East Alabama Medical Center within the next 10 days.

A Birmingham law firm says it has been contacted by more than 250 patients of Dr. Mitchell and the firm will file law suits against the cardiologist  and East Alabama Medical center.  We spoke with a partner at Hare, Wynn, Newell and Newton who says his clients have been wronged.

The Birmingham law firm is reaching out to patients of the East Alabama cardiologist through internet ads and television commercials. The solicitations asks patients, who believe Dr. Mitchell may have implanted an unnecessary stent, to contact their office. Scott Powell says his Birmingham law firm is helping patients figure out if they are suspected victims of medical negligence.

This month,  the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama issued an indictment against the well-known doctor. It alleges for six years, Dr. Mitchell inserted unnecessary stents into some patients, while falsifying their medical records.

The U.S. Attorney says Dr. Mitchell devised the scheme in attempt to increase his profits. The indictment asks the 60-year-old cardiologist to pay back $450,000 in forfeitures. Powell says several medical complications can arise from an unnecessary stint procedure.

"You can have heart attacks, stroke, pulmonary emboli, and sever of these cases and clients have been placed on coumadin or other anti-clotting medications associated with clots forming near an improperly inserted stent," Powell said.

Powell  expects to file numerous individual civil suits in Lee County in the next 10 days. An attorney for Dr. Mitchell declined to comment on civil action.

Dr. Mitchell did release this statement after his arrest:

"I am disappointed  the government has chosen to bring untrue charges against me.  For nearly 30 years, I have faithfully served patients in the Auburn-Opelika area and I am proud of my record. In all my years of practice, I have performed a procedure only if I believed it to be medically necessary and in the best interest of my patient. Taking care of patients is my life's calling and I would never betray the trust of the patients who have come to me for care," stated Dr. Mitchell.

However, based on the allegations, the United States government and lawyer Scott Powell believe Dr. Mitchell did betray his patients.

"It is a tragedy what has occurred. Unfortunately we are seeing it in other parts of the country, when you put money before a patients health care this is what can happen," said Powell.

We asked EAMC for a comment on Powell saying the hospital will be named as a defendants in the law suits. We have not heard back from a spokesperson.

The hospital did confirm  Dr. Mitchell is still practicing at East Alabama Medical Center and his hospital privileges remain intact.

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