West Virginia Record

Monday, July 15, 2019

Woman says Putnam General, two doctors to blame for father's death

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 22, 2005

According to a lawsuit filed Dec. 13 in Putnam Circuit Court, Barbara Plumley is executrix of the estate of Clarence Setliff, who died Sept. 21, 2003.

Five days before his death, Setliff was admitted to Putnam General with chest pain and for telemetry monitoring. He was found to have mild ischemia in the interior of the right coronary artery, the suit says.

On Sept. 19, Setliff passed out or fainted. It first was thought to be a vasovagal episode, but later determined to be a rapid abnormal heart rhythm with a rate of 138-158. A "code blue" was called because Setliff had no pulse and wasn't breathing, the suit says. He was given a Cardizem drip, but he became hypotensive and the drip was discontinued, the suit says.

He was resuscitated and monitored until the next day when he was discharged to a nursing home, the suit claims.

However, on Sept. 21, Setliff died of a sudden cardiac arrest.

There was a "deviation in the standard of care for the defendants to not have a cardiology consult within a timely manner following the 'code blue' episode," the suit alleges. "The defendants clearly breached the standard of care by failing to purposely evaluate the rapid atrial fibrillation.

"The defendants' failure to perform adequate testing following the rapid atrial fibrillation and discharging him without determining the cause of his symptoms were deviations in the standard of care that directly led to the demise of" Setliff.

Plumley claims the defendants breached a duty of care owed to Setliff, deviated from medically acceptable standard of care and were negligent in medical care rendered to Setliff.

She says the defendants' negligent actions and failure to act "was a substantial proximate cause of the rapid medical decline, unnecessary suffering, and premature death of" Setliff.

Plumley claims she and Setliff's heirs have sustained loss and suffering, including sorrow, mental anguish and solace; loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice; loss of income and services, protective care and assistance provided by Setliff; expenses for his care, treatment and hospitalization; reasonable funeral expenses and other injuries.

In the suit, filed by Charleston attorney John R. Mitchell Sr., Plumley seeks a joint and several judgment against the defendants adequate to compensate her for the losses and damages sustained, interest, costs and fees.

She seeks a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Edward Eagloski.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 05-C-498.

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