CLAIMS ALLEGE HOST OF DOCTOR ERRORS


  The thousands of malpractice cases reported to the state Board   of Medicine since 1993 allege a host of medical errors and negligence by
  doctors.     Many blame doctors for a death. Others fault physicians for brain   damage suffered by an infant at birth. Some cases allege the wrong organ   was removed, or the wrong limb amputated.    
Two-thirds of the malpractice cases reported to the board ended   with settlements or jury verdicts in the plaintiff's favor. The following   are some examples:  
  - Dr. Harry G. Kennedy Jr. agreed to pay $4.35 million to settle a 1994   Harrison County case that left a 20-year-old woman permanently disabled   with brain damage.     The woman had gone to a Clarksburg hospital's emergency room in 1993   complaining of severe headaches. Kennedy, a radiologist, misread a scan of   her brain as normal, the claim alleged.     The woman returned to the ER the following week, as the headaches had   grown worse. Only then did doctors discover that she had a blood clot in   her brain. By then, her brain had begun to swell, causing permanent brain   damage.     Dr. Shivshankar Uchila Navada, a Clarksburg neurosurgeon, saw the woman   after CT scans revealed the blood clot. But Navada operated on the woman's  
  • pine, not her brain, the 1994 lawsuit against him and Kennedy alleged.
  •     The woman was flown to Charleston, where another neurosurgeon saved her   life. But brain swelling caused a temporary coma and a stroke-like   condition. She lost the ability to both walk and speak.     Navada settled out of the case for $1.65 million. The settlements by   Kennedy and Navada paid for crucial rehabilitation care for the woman that   partly restored her speech and ability to walk, one court filing said. But   both skills remain impaired, and she is considered disabled for life.     - Dr. Dwarka N. Vemuri paid $4 million to settle claims by three   different women, including a 69-year-old nun, who accused the Wheeling   cardiologist of fraud. Vemuri performed unnecessary angioplasties, surgery   to open blocked blood vessels, on all three, their claims alleged.   One alleged a torn artery from the process required emergency surgery to   repair.     - Dr. Stuart Henry Fox has paid $2.7 million to settle eight   claims filed against him. The Huntington obstetrician was ordered   to pay $177,578 by a 1999 jury in a ninth claim, while another jury   cleared him in a 10th.     At least three of these cases blamed Fox for a death, while a fourth   faulted him for a botched abortion-related procedure.     Fox's medical license was placed on probation in 1994 after the widower
      of one of Fox's patients complained to the state Board of Medicine. The   man's wife had gone to Fox for a hysterectomy, and died two weeks later of   complications from the procedure. The claim alleged the hysterectomy was   unnecessary and unadvisable because of her weight, liver and   blood-clotting problems.     A 1998 report on the board's action said Fox was performing up to 60   hysterectomies a year, and that his insurer settled the widower's claim   for $775,000 without his consent. He filed for bankruptcy last year,   records said.     - Dr. Oscar Solidum Irisari has paid $1.9 million since 1993 to resolve   four malpractice claims. A fifth case was dismissed against   the Moundsville obstetrician during that time.     One settled claim blamed Irisari for brain damage suffered by an infant   born in 1993. Another alleged a delay in diagnosing breast cancer in a   32-year-old woman.     Prior records show Irisari had paid, through his insurers, $3.5 million   to settle eight other malpractice claims between 1984 and   1993. The Board of Medicine fined Irisari in the 1980s for failing to   report one of those settlements, mandated by state law. He was required to   pass a competency exam after the board disciplined him again, in 1994,   records said.     - Dr. Conrad D. Tamea Jr. had 12 claims reported between 1993   and 2000. One ended in a $120,000 jury verdict, while three others settled   for a total of $383,000. The remaining claims were dismissed.     The settled claims accused the orthopedic surgeon of botching a  
  • eries of repairs to fractured bones in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A
  •   1994 jury found against Tamea after he allegedly failed to diagnose bone   disease in a 15-year-old boy.     - Dr. Boonlua Lucktong paid $2.5 million to settle four claims   filed against him over his work at the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical   Center.     Two of those claims blamed Lucktong for deaths at the VA center.   The Board of Medicine suspended his license in 1996, and required him to   pass a competency exam. After he failed the exam, the board revoked his   license the following year.     The federal government initially balked at reporting the claims   to the state Board of Medicine. State officials secured an order from a   federal judge to compel the VA to follow the reporting law.     The VA paid the claims against Lucktong on his behalf. Insurance   companies paid the other claims listed above on the behalf of those   doctors.     To contact staff writer Lawrence Messina, use e-mail or call 348-4869.    
    Show All Comments Hide All Comments

    User Comments

    More News