CHARLESTON - A Hurricane woman is demanding retribution for what she believes is the wrongful death of her nephew, caused by a doctor at the Cross Lanes Internal Medicine Group.
Nancy A. Austin, the executrix of the estate of William R. Warner, Jr., claims that Dr. Arvind Viradia failed to provide proper treatment over the course of the three years he treated Warner.
In a claim filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on Feb. 3, Austin claims Viradia's failure to suggest further treatment helped result in Warner's eventual death, caused by a progressive brain disease on Nov. 11, 2003.
Austin, who is represented by Mark R. Staun, first notes Warner's June 6, 2000 visit to Viradia's office complaining of right-sided headaches that had existed over a five-day period. Viradia ordered a CT scan that was performed the next day.
Listed in the claim is Viradia's impression from the scan, which states: "Nonspecific small low density area in the high right parietal convexity. No enhancing lesion. This may represent a small focus of ischemia or infarction although other pathology cannot be excluded. If further evaulation is required, a follow-up MRI of the brain is recommended."
That follow-up MRI was performed June 21, 2000. The findings of that MRI, performed by another doctor, state that it would be helpful to obtain a follow-up MRI exam a few months later to verify the impression given by that MRI, which was that Warner's symptoms were compatible with a right maxillary sinus disease.
Austin states that Warner visited Viradia eight more times over the next 29 months, and that Viradia never suggested a follow-up MRI.
Austin claims that Warner visited Viradia on March 3, 2003, complaining of a bad back as well as numbness in his left hip, leg and arm. A CT scan and MRI were taken, she says, but the findings stated no change in the small low density areas from the first ones he had taken in June 2000.
On April 26, 2003, Austin says Warner was admitted to Charleston Area Medical Center after having suffered a seizure. He was seen by Dr. Kuruvilla John and followed up with neurosurgeon Robert J. Crow. In Crow's May 1, 2003 medical record, he notes that:
"CT of the brain 03/07/03 reviewed with and without contrast shows a vague area of low density involving the medial right front parietal area without enhancement. MRI of the brain with and without Gadolinium 04/25/03 (sic) compared to 06/21/00 shows progressive abnormal bright signal involving a very diffuse area of the right front parietal area involving the primary sensor and motor strips. There is approximately a 1x2 cm area of enhancement involving the lateral convexity white matter. There is a mild mass effect, no significant mid-line shift and the basal cisterns are well maintained."
Austin says Crow later performed a brain biopsy on Warner, showing high-grade glioma. Warner underwent extensive treatment at numerous medical facilities, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, in an effort to treat his disease.
Austin says Crow was "subsequently diagnosed with spinal cord tumors, paralysis, and ultimately died."
Austin maintains that Viradia owed a duty of care to perform follow-up examinations and to further refer Warner to other medical specialists after being advised of his June 7, 2000 CT scan and June 21, 2000 MRI exam.
She adds that Warner "suffered excruciating and severe mental, emotional and physical pain and suffering prior to his death and eventual death" because of Viradia's negligence.
She is seeking a trial by jury and a monetary amount to be determined considering her funeral expenses, emotional hardship and loss of income of the decedent.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-196