West Virginia Record

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Parents allege medical negligence led to son's injury

By April Bamburg | Aug 19, 2014

SUMMERSVILLE -- A Birch River couple says their four-year-old suffered a ruptured spleen after a doctor at their local medical center failed to diagnose the condition.

James E. Mathes II and Andrea D. Mathes, as parents of Cameron J. Mathes, filed a lawsuit July 16 in Nicholas Circuit Court against Michael Ramsay M.D., Valley Imaging Consultants Inc. and the City of Summersville, doing business as Summersville Regional Medical Center.

According to the complaint, the couple took their son, Cameron, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to Summersville Regional Medical Center on Aug. 27, with complaints of significant abdominal pain, chills and dry heaves. The complaint notes the boy was screaming in pain and pointing toward his abdomen.

Medical personnel conducted a CT scan of the boy’s abdomen and pelvis with contrast, which was reviewed by Ramsay. The doctor’s report failed to note that the boy’s spleen was enlarged or that it had ruptured, the suit states.

While the four-year-old was in the emergency room, his condition worsened and he required intubation, as well as blood transfusions as he suffered from hemorrhagic shock. His blood pressure dropped to 69/56, but the treating doctors did not obtain an abdominal ultrasound or surgical consult after the CT scan, the filing states.

The defendants requested another medical facility, West Virginia University, take over the care of their son and his case was transferred. The couple believes it was not until the second facility reviewed the CT scan that doctors determined their son’s spleen had ruptured.

He was transferred to West Virginia University Medical Center’s Pediatric Intensive Care unit via helicopter for surgery. His condition did not allow the evacuation team to make it to WVU Medical Center.

Instead, the helicopter landed at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, where the young boy had surgery, according to the complaint. During that surgery, Cameron coded and required CPR to resuscitate the boy.

After surgery, he was transferred to the West Virginia University Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and later Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio for continued treatment, the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege defendant Ramsay, both individually and as an employee of Valley Imaging Consultants, acted negligently, recklessly and incompetently in failing to evaluate or identify the boy’s ruptured spleen. He also failed to compare a previous CT scan from July 6, 2013, to the scan taken Aug. 27.

The couple says the emergency room staff at Summersville Regional Medical Center also acted negligently and incompetently in failing to order additional tests to assess their son’s condition and a surgical consult.

The plaintiffs say the defendants’ negligence caused their son to suffer permanent brain injury, developmental delays and bodily injury.

The plaintiffs ask for a judgment in sums that will compensate them for the various causes of action discussed above.

They are represented by attorneys Robert V. Berthold Jr. and Holly G. DiCiccio of Berthold Law Firm of Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Gary Johnson.

Nicholas Circuit Court Case 14-C-84

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