CHARLESTON – The doctor at the heart of more than 100 medical malpractice suits involving Putnam General Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the facility, its former owner and several hospital administrators and physicians.
Dr. John A. King filed the suit in October in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. He seeks more than $531 million in damages. He says he should get the money because of an agreement he had with Putnam General before he left.
The suit is similar to one King filed in federal court here. That lawsuit was dismissed.
King seeks $500 million in compensatory damages, $31.5 million in punitive damages and $35,000 in legal fees and monthly payments.
King performed more than 500 surgeries at Putnam General between late 2002 and mid-2003.
King has lost or surrendered medical licenses in states including West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
King's new lawsuit maintains that Putnam General and HCA acted improperly when they suspended his anesthesiology privileges in February 2003 and some of his surgical privileges in June 2003. He also accuses Putnam General of defaming his character to hospitals, medical care providers and the public. He also claims Putnam General improperly billed patients for services he performed and overcharged him for office rental fees.
Earlier this month, King filed personal bankruptcy papers, delaying the start of the trials in the 122 medical malpractice suits he faces in Putnam Circuit Court. He lists his only asset as a 1993 Volvo worth $500. As required by federal law, the trials then were postponed indefinitely.
King, who changed his name to Christopher Wallace Martin last year, worked at Putnam General Hospital from November 2002 to June 2003. Putnam General and Hospital Corp. of America, which owned the facility then, also are named as defendants in the 122 malpractice suits.
Last year, Charleston Area Medical Center bought Putnam General from HCA. The facility is now known as CAMC-Teays Valley Hospital.