Chicago doctor accused of improperly using experimental device on patient

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The head of heart surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital went on trial Monday over accusations he improperly used an experimental device on a patient.

Doctor Patrick McCarthy admits he invented the device, but the surgeon insists there was nothing improper about using it.

Ten years ago, Maureen Obermeier had open heart surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and her surgeon was the world-renowned Doctor Patrick McCarthy.

Two years earlier, he had hadrecruited to become Northwestern's chief of cardiac surgery.

Now, Obermeier and Doctor McCarthy sat side by side in a Daley Center courtroom and she claims that he inserted an experimental device into her heart without her consent, and it led to a heart attack and other complications.

“It's just about decency and telling the truth. If he had followed Northwestern's own in-house standards, we wouldn't have a case here. We wouldn't be here,” said attorney Adrwin Boyer.

Boyer represents Obermeier. In his opening statement, he told the jury that Doctor McCarthy used a device called a Myxo Ring, which McCarthy had invented.

"He was putting it into patients, seeing how it worked and not telling them," Boyer said.

Obermeier claims she had no idea McCarthy had invented the ring and that he might have had a financial incentive to use it on his patients.

“The main principal is that doctors like Doctor Mccarthy, heart surgeons who are involved in this side practice of inventing medical devices, they need to follow their own inhouse standards,” Boyer said.

“I would love to comment, I can't wait to testify,” Dr. McCarthy said.

Doctor McCarthy declined to say more, but in court, his attorney, Jason Parson, said the Myxo Ring was merely an older model ring bent into a new shape.

"There was nothing about the shape,” Parson said, “that made it more risky than other rings." 

Maureen Obermeier says that because of the device inserted by Doctor McCarthy, she now has a pacemaker and a defibrillator, and a shorter life expectancy.

In a statement, Northwestern Memorial hospital told FOX 32 that the allegations against Doctor McCarthy are without merit and that the doctor has always put patients' best interests first.