Man sues Preston Memorial Hospital for negligence

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 25, 2015

CHARLESTON – A man is suing Preston Memorial Hospital after he received poor care in its emergency department.

Nautilus Insurance Company Inc., Melissa Lockwood and Dr. Denise C. Smyth were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Jan. 21, 2014 Philip R. Duquette went to the emergency department at Preston Memorial Hospital via an ambulance, due to severe pain, swelling and redness in his right left and his foot was cold, according to a complaint filed Feb. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Duquette claims he was seen by Smyth, who informed him he needed a Doppler study of his right lower extremity, but he had to wait until Jan. 24, 2014, which was the first available day to have the test performed.

Smyth discharged Duquette to home with several doses of Lovenox or a similar blood thinner that were to be administered by his girlfriend, under the direction and training provided by Smyth, according to the suit.

Duquette claims Smyth's actions were in violation of the standard of care of a reasonably prudent emergency department medicine physician.

On Jan. 22, 2014, Duquette was experiencing far worse pain and his girlfriend took him to Ruby Memorial Hospital so he could bypass the poor care he had received from Preston.

Upon arrival at Ruby, Duquette was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg and he was told he needed immediate surgery because he was suffering from compartment syndrome by the failure to treat the blood clot in his leg, according to the suit.

Duquette claims the treatment that he had to undergo was painful and the loss of muscle and other tissue in his leg caused him great anguish and some loss of the use of his leg.

After surgery, Duquette underwent treatment for his compartment syndrome, creating medical expenses in excess of $140,000, according to the suit.

On Dec. 23, Duquette's counsel sent a notice of claim and certificate of merit in compliance with the Medical Professional Liability Act to the defendants, according to the suit.

On Jan. 27, the defendants notified plaintiff's counsel that they were affirmatively electing to participate in pre-suit mediation of Duquette's claims and a mediator and place for mediation was chosen.

Duquette claims on Feb. 5, the defendants' counsel informed his counsel that her clients desired to wait until June to mediate the case and his counsel informed her that he was not willing to permit mediation beyond April 1.

The defendants caused Duquette injuries and damages and they were negligent in their care of him, according to the suit.

Duquette is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by David A. Sims of the Law Offices of David A. Sims PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-332

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