Man says doctor inserted chest tube into liver

By Annie Cosby | Dec 17, 2014

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County man is suing over claims he was injured when a doctor negligently inserted a chest tube into his liver.

Paul A. Dunn filed a lawsuit Oct. 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Dr. Edward J. Grey, citing medical negligence.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 2, 2012, Dunn was admitted to Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, where he was evaluated by Grey on Oct. 3, 2012, and underwent diagnostic tests.

The complaint states Grey ordered a right side chest tube to be inserted into Dunn's abdomen on Oct. 4, 2012, and as little as two hours later, a nurse reported the chest tube draining a red fluid. Dunn says his family repeatedly asked hospital staff why his chest tube was draining a blood-like fluid, but nobody was given a clear explanation.

The lawsuit states Grey ordered a CT scan the morning of Oct. 5, 2012, which was either withdrawn or abandoned, but a scan performed that afternoon revealed the chest tube extending across the liver. According to the complaint, when Dunn's family inquired after his condition, they were told "the shunt was slanted." The plaintiff says that same day his family was informed he would have to be transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center, and when they asked why, they were simply told that the chest tube removal would cause extensive bleeding that the other hospital was more equipped to handle.

According to the lawsuit, it wasn't until Dunn was transferred to and evaluated at CAMC that his family was informed that the chest tube had been inserted into his liver and explained the severity of the situation, as Dunn had lost a lot of blood.

The lawsuit states Dunn underwent surgery Oct. 6, 2012, to remove the chest tube, check for other injuries, properly place a new chest tube and administer red blood cells. Dunn says he remained on a ventilator in the ICU until Oct. 8, 2012, and was not released until Oct. 19, 2012.

The defendant doctor is accused of medical negligence and willful, wanton and reckless conduct for failing to recognize the signs of inserting a chest tube through a solid organ and seeking to conceal that information from Dunn's family.

Dunn seeks compensatory and punitive damages including interest, attorney fees and expenses.

He is represented by attorneys Robert B. Warner, Lynnette Simon Marshall and Andrew D. Byrd of Warner Law Offices in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1940

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