A cardiologist, previously affiliated with Hamot medical center has filed a whistleblower action saying that a group of Erie Pa doctors defrauded Medicare by performing uncessary and costly surgeries involving heart stents. This case is one of many involving angioplasty surgery as the medical community itself is examining the procedures involving insertion of a stent, which is a tiny mesh tube meant to keep an artery open to improve blood flow. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July concluded that 12 percent of the angioplasty procedures nationwide were inappropriate. The whistleblower Tullion Emanuele M.D. is actually claiming that one patient died after undergoing a heart catheterization he did not need. Another patient, he said, died from complications of an unecessary bypass surgery. The lawsuit also alleged kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals and that the average cost of the angioplasty costs about $20,000. The doctor is pursuing the case under the False Claims Act which allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the government over allegations of fraud and mis-billing of the government. The whistleblowers are entitled to as much as 30% of what the government recovers. Attorney Newman represents whistleblowers.