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Ohio doctor guilty of fraud -- malpractice, too?

He performed unneeded heart procedures, ordered gratuitous tests and overbilled insurers, an Ohio jury has decided. After being found guilty of health care fraud and money laundering, the cardiologist northeast of Warren County must await his sentence.

His sentencing takes place in December, but a number of the doctor's former patients aren't waiting to hear what his punishment will be. Along with their medical malpractice attorneys, they have filed lawsuits against the 56-year-old characterized by a U.S. Attorney as "a doctor who intentionally did the wrong thing in order to get money."

The Westlake cardiologist faces up to 20 years in federal prison for his crimes, a newspaper report states, though it also notes that sentencing guidelines indicate his punishment will be less than the maximum allowed. Dr. Harry Persaud inserted stents into patients who didn't need them, and performed unnecessary catheterizations as well.

A catheterization is the threading of a catheter through a person's artery to their heart, the Mayo Clinic says on its website. It's done for treatments and testing. Risks in the procedure include the tearing of the heart or artery, allergic reactions to the dye used, infection, blood clots, heart attack and stroke, according to Mayo.

The insertion of a stent comes with some similar risks: bleeding, blood clots forming within the stents, coronary artery damage, kidney problems, stroke and heart attack.

The doctor put his patients at risk of traumatic, life-threatening events in order to wring $7.2 million out of Medicare and insurance companies.

Patients who are harmed and used as money-making devices by unscrupulous physicians will often seek justice above and beyond what a criminal court can mete out. That process begins with a conversation with a Springboro attorney who understands the complexities of medical malpractice investigation, negotiation and litigation.

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