Family sues physician's estate for medical malpractice

CHARLESTON -- A family is suing a Charleston physician's estate after they claim he was negligent in his care. In the spring of 2008, Shannon R. Zakaib consulted with Dr. Augusto L. Portillo, who specialized in plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery, for the purposes of determining whether to have him perform reconstructive surgery following necessary bilateral mastectomies, according to a complaint filed Aug. 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court. Zakaib claims on May 21, 2008, Portillo performed the reconstructive surgery following the bilateral mastectomies. Subsequently, upon requesting follow-up treatment, care and procedures, Zakaib was informed Portillo was no longer practicing purportedly due to illness, according to the suit, however, Zakaib later learned that Portillo had agreed to the suspension of his medical license as a result of several charges being brought against him for failing or refusing to produce the medical records of patients and for falsification of records. Zakaib claims upon learning that Portillo was no longer practicing, she made numerous and repeated requests for purposes of obtaining her medical records, but despite repeated promises and assurances that the medical records would be produced, Portillo's office failed and/or refused to produce her medical records. Thereafter Zakaib consulted with a different surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey N. Thaxton, who, after obtaining and reviewing her records from Charleston Area Medical Center, advised her on Sept. 27, 2010, that Portillo had failed to install the correct devices that she had chosen and believed to be implanted, according to the suit. Zakaib claims as a result of Portillo's failure to install the correct devices as promised, on Dec. 5, 2010, Thaxon was required to perform surgery to remedy Portillo's failure. On June 14, 2011, Zakaib had to undergo another required surgical procedure due to Portillo's failure, according to the suit. Zakaib claims Portillo caused her to suffer the cost and expense of additional reconstructive surgeries; aggravation, exacerbation and extension of severe emotional distress; loss of income; and additional scarring and increased risks of infection. When Portillo died in October 2010, his wife, Jacqueline H. Portillo, was named executrix of his estate, according to the suit. Zakaib and her husband, Stefan A. Zakaib, and children, Gracin I. Zakaib and Gavin A. Zakaib, are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Marvin W. Masters and Richard A. Monahan. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman. Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1654

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