Lawyer says family members 'feel vindicated' by $2M settlement
WELLSBURG -- A Wheeling lawyer says family members of a woman who died after a cancer-related surgery at Weirton Medical Center in 2005 "feel vindicated by our justice system" after the hospital confessed judgment and agreed to pay $2 million in damages. Geoff Brown, a lawyer with the Bordas & Bordas firm said the hospital's decision came just before opening statements were to begin in the trial over the death of Genevieve Haught. Haught had undergone a procedure called a transabdominal laparoscopic cryoablation to freeze a lesion on her kidney that doctors suspected might be cancerous -- though tests showed Haught did not have cancer. Doctors Hardev Parihar and his assistant Jayapal Reddy performed the procedure, during which Haught's family's lawyers say Reddy perforated Haught's stomach. The perforation later got infected and Haught died as a result. The lawsuit, filed in 2007, blamed Parihar and Reddy for the death as well as the hospital for negligently credentialing the surgeons to perform the procedure. Brown said neither doctor had ever done the procedure before. "It's certainly our position that this procedure should have never gone forward," Brown said. "It was going to be the first time the two of them had ever worked on this kind of thing before." Brown said Parihar was negligent in not telling Haught beforehand that it would be the first time he did the procedure. Brown said the family will never know whether or not Haught would have consented knowing this. Parihar issued a press release through his lawyer in which he says that the procedure was medically necessary and was an "unmitigated success." He denied that Reddy was his assistant and that he had no control over what Reddy was doing, though Reddy, in a deposition, said the procedure was Parihar's idea. Parihar added he was properly trained to perform the procedure. Both Parihar and Reddy settled with Haught's husband, David Haught, and daughter Crystal Rogerson before the trial, the law firm said. Brown said the terms of those settlements are confidential. He said the settlement with the hospital is still subject to approval by Circuit Judge Arthur Recht. Brown declined to say how much the law firm would get from the settlement until Recht approves it. Parihar had previously had nine medical malpractice actions brought against him and settled two. The others were dismissed, according to the West Virginia Board of Medicine. Reddy, meanwhile, previously had three actions brought by patients. Reddy settled two.