Putnam hospital named in class action suit

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 21, 2006

WINFIELD – Two Kanawha Valley attorneys have filed a class action lawsuit against the former Putnam General Hospital over the improper disinfection of instruments.

Putnam County attorney Frank M. Armada and Charleston attorney Anthony J. Majestro are listed as plaintiff attorneys on the complaint filed Oct. 31 in Putnam Circuit Court. Putnam County residents Roseann McFerran and Kathleen A. Wilson are listed as the plaintiffs.

According to the complaint, the class is designed for all West Virginia residents who underwent endoscopic procedures at the hospital between March 1, 2003, and Sept. 30, 2004. The complaint says a Nov. 1, 2004, letter from the hospital said it had committed medical malpractice and/or professional negligence by failing to properly follow disinfection procedures relative to its endoscopic instruments.

The complaint calls that conduct negligent, careless and reckless. It also lists damages and possible damages as medical bills for diagnostic and preventative treatment and for treatment of injuries; physical injury, temporary and permanent; severe emotional distress, mental pain and suffering; humiliation, embarrassment and fear; loss of enjoyment of life; loss of income, past and present; disability, disfigurement; medical monitoring expenses for diseases including hepatitis and AIDS; annoyance and inconvenience; and other damages.

"The class includes several hundred West Virginia citizens and is therefore so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, medical monitoring expenses, attorney fees and costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, other relief.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding.

Putnam General Hospital officially became CAMC Teays Valley Hospital last week.

Charleston Area Medical Center offered to buy the hospital for $15.4 million in August when former owner Hospital Corp. of America announced it planned to close the facility, citing the legal climate created by the mountain of malpractice cases against the hospital and Dr. John King, a former surgeon there.

CAMC took over the daily operations of Putnam General last month, and the state Health Care Authority approved the deal Nov. 3.

King's cases are still pending. A story in the Sunday Gazette-Mail last week reported that he is practicing again under another name and is accused of mistreating a patient in Alabama.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 06-C-360

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