Hampshire County man files $2 million lawsuit following wife's d - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Hampshire County man files $2 million lawsuit following wife's death

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For The State Journal

KEYSER — A Hampshire county man, Robert J. Eversole II, recently filed a $2 million lawsuit against at least 15 defendants related to the 2010 death of his wife at a Virginia hospital.

Keyser attorney Daniel James filed the lawsuit on behalf of Eversole, whose wife, Paulette, died Jan. 22, 2010, three days after going to the Winchester Medical Center emergency department complaining of stomach pains.

The lawsuit alleges Eversole went to Winchester Medical Center Jan. 19, 2010, in "excruciating abdominal pain." She was seen in the emergency room by a gastroenterologist, and later admitted to the hospital. She remained hospitalized for several days undergoing tests before doctors decided to perform surgery on her.

"They opened her stomach Jan. 22. They found that every visceral organ in her gut was dead. Everything," James said, adding that when doctors opened Eversole there was a "foul stench." He said all the visceral organs — such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, intestines and colon — were black and necrotic.

"What happened to Eversole is called mesenteric ischemia, which basically means there was lack of blood flow to the organs in the abdomen," said James.

The lawsuit alleges it took eight hours for the emergency doctor to order a CAT scan of Eversole's abdomen following her admission to the emergency room.

"Her scan was sent by way of tele-radiology through a computer to a doctor in Boise, Idaho, to read," said James.

According to James, the scan consisted of 230 slices of data, which the doctor read in about eight minutes.

James said that doctor sent back his report saying that all of Eversole's organs were normal, including the liver, spleen, stomach, gall bladder and pancreas.  

"The word used was perfused, meaning the organs were supplied with blood. That doctor said he couldn't find anything wrong with her abdomen," James said.

The next morning, James said, a regular radiologist showed up around 9 a.m., looked at all the scans from the previous night and said they "looked good."

"After two days, I think the doctors recognized that her condition was progressively getting worse. Her pain levels worsened and her vitals were off the charts," James said. "Eventually they went down her throat and saw there was little blood flow to her stomach."

An additional test showed that all three major arteries from her heart were totally blocked. James said doctors immediately performed surgery on Eversole and "found everything had rotted."

Eversole died soon after.

"In my opinion, after her death the doctors are sitting around wondering how the hell it happened and second guessing what they missed. They went back to the CAT scan and to the doctor in Boise, Idaho, that said everything was fine."

On second look, James said, the doctors found that the CAT scan showed two of the three main arteries from the heart to be totally blocked.

"What we know happened is that she was screaming out for diagnosis. Nurses oversedated her with morphine, and that wasn't working. They tried to give her tests where she had to hold her breath, and she couldn't do that," James said.

"Ultimately by Jan. 22, 2010, her condition had reached a critical point, but it was too late to do anything. It's a tragic case. Her husband and their three daughters were at her bedside when she passed," James said.

The complaints lists as defendants: Winchester Medical Center; Winchester Emergency Physicians PC; Valley Health Systems; Winchester Surgical Clinic; Winchester Intensivists; Winchester Radiologists; Winchester Gastroenterology Associates; NightHawk Radiology Holdings Inc. and Virtual Radiological Corp., both of Delaware; as well as Drs. Peter Reuss, John Carl III, Thomas Gibson, Michael McAuliffe, Kyle Young and Llewellyn Kitchen.

James said it might take up to three years to get the case to either a Winchester, Va., or Martinsburg, W.Va., court.

"People need to know that when you walk into a hospital you are walking into a shell," James said. "Surgeons, radiologist, everyone works for themselves or a corporation, not for the hospital," James said.

"The thing about this case that bothers me is the tele-radiology.  It used to be that you could see a person face to face, shake his or her hand, not someone behind a curtain. These people are making decisions on our life. Now we don't know who the hell they are."

When contacted for comment,  Valley Health and Winchester Medical Center public relation manager Carol Weare said, "We do not comment on lawsuits."

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