Massachusetts cardiologist sues Lahey Clinic after being fired, claims hospital had close ties to Medtronic

Interventional cardiologist David Gossman is suing his former employer, the Lahey Clinic hospitals in Burlington, Massachusetts, after he was fired for complaining about the hospital’s relationship with Medtronic. The story was reported by Thomas Burton in the Wall Street Journal Health Blog and by Molly Hamill in Courthouse News Service.

According to Hamill, Gossman claimed that the hospital was offered “access to the CoreValve, a new heart valve that will be in clinical trials in the U.S. soon, predicated on the purchase and increased utilization of other products made by Medtronic.” Gossman’s court complaint says that Medtronic made the offer to Lahey Clinic’s director of interventional cardiology, Thomas Piemonte. Gossman says that Piemonte earns fees as a lecturer on the Medtronic Speakers Bureau and that his wife works for Medtronic and owns stock in the company.

Following the Medtronic offer, Gossman claims, Piemonte and cardiology chair Richard Nesto “pressured other doctors at the hospital to increase use of Medtronic products, and told a new doctor that her low use rate of the Medtronic heart stents jeopardized the hospital’s access to cutting-edge medical technologies,” Hammill writes.

Gossman was fired soon after he attended a lecture about his hospital’s IRB where he raised a “hypothetical” question: “If a medical device company approaches a hospital offering access to a new investigational device, but predicates access to the device on increased utilization of other products sold by the company, what would be the position of the IRB regarding this arrangement?”

A Medtronic spokesman told the WSJ‘s Burton that “that kind of behavior [as described in the suit] wouldn’t be allowed by our code of conduct.” Burton also quoted a spokesman for the Lahey Clinic who said “Gossman was dismissed because he ‘repeatedly demonstrated himself to be unsuited to the kind of collegial practice’ that exists at Lahey.”

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  1. […] previously reported by CardioBrief last November, interventional cardiologist David Gossman is suing his former employer, […]

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