Najam Azmat snaked a catheter on a guide wire into Judi Gary’s groin as he tried to insert a stent in an artery supplying blood to her pelvis and right leg.
On an X-ray monitor near where Gary lay, nurses saw blood leakages. The wire seemed to be in the wrong place, nurse Evan Gourley told Azmat. Everything was fine, the vascular surgeon replied. It wasn’t.
Azmat tore Gary’s aorta during the December 2005 procedure, according to documents filed with a U.S. Justice Department civil complaint. Nurses asked another surgeon to step in. Gourley left in disgust. Later, he went to administrators at Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross, Georgia, with a warning about Azmat.
“I told them that he will kill a patient if they let him continue to work,” Gourley said. Officials at the Satilla hospital got at least seven similar warnings about Azmat, according to another nurse’s notes.
They let him continue. One of his next patients died.
Azmat’s tenure at the 231-bed hospital, as described in interviews and more than 1,000 pages of medical records, internal documents and witness statements that were made public last year, shows the extremes one hospital went to in order to keep its catheterization clinic -- or “cath lab” -- operating and producing revenue.