CHARLESTON – After first following the advice of Horace Greeley by going west -– to Illinois -– a former Mason County physician has heeded the call of Chrissie Hynde in going back to Ohio. Both moves, records show, preceded him being named in civil suits.

Last week, the Shelbyville (Ill.) Daily Union reported that Dr. Jack M. Levine was named as a respondent in discovery in a lawsuit filed by Penny Shasteen. In her suit, Shasteen alleges that Levine, Shelby Memorial Hospital, the Shelby Area Ambulance Service and Dr. Arnold V. Agapito were in some way negligent in the death of her mother, Dona Ogilvie.

Shasteen's suit alleges that SMH, SAAS and Agapito are the most culpable. By naming Levine as a respondent in discovery means he is not a defendant, but one with essential information on who could be named as a defendant at a later date.

However, in Illinois a respondent in discovery must answer all discovery requests as any named defendant.

Though named in the Illinois suit, Levine is no longer practicing medicine there. The West Virginia Record has learned that Levine, who also has a pending suit against him in West Virginia, has since relocated to a small community hospital in southeast Ohio not far from where his medical career, and legal troubles, began.

Setting up shop in Waverly

According to the article, Shasteen alleges her mother died in her home on Nov. 10, 2005 following a colonoscopy Levine performed on her Oct. 25, 2005 at SMH. Though Levine performed the surgery, Shasteen alleges that Agapito is the most culpable because he scheduled her for the colonoscopy, rather than gall bladder surgery, and was slow to notify Levine of her post-operative pain.

In addition to alleging Agapito, as an agent and employee of SMH, negligent for not properly prepping Oglivie for surgery, and having the proper staff on-hand to handle possible post-operative complications, Shasteen maintains Agapito and SMH "negligently and carelessly delayed the ambulance from leaving SMH for more than an hour after it arrived…upon the determination that repair of the perforated colon could not be made at SMH."

Likewise, the article says Shasteen holds SAAS accountable for failing "to deliver (Ogilvie) to the appropriate facility after arriving at Decatur Memorial Hospital."

As a respondent in discovery, Shasteen is not alleging any negligence on Levine's behalf at this point. According to the article, however, she is asking he provide, among other things, information on why a colonoscopy was ordered when X-ray films showed gall stones, why he perforated Ogilvie's colon and why he failed to perceive that he perforated the bowel during the colonoscopy.

Though it is not clear if there is any causation, but the article says that SMH "terminated his employment with the hospital in early 2007."

Sometime thereafter, Levine started work at Pike Community Hospital in Waverly, Ohio. The county seat of Pike County, Waverly is located 15 miles south of Chillicothe, and 40 miles north of Portsmouth.

According to its Web site, Levine practices general medicine at PCH. The contact information provided is that of the hospital.

However, Levine has failed to inform the Ohio Board of Medicine of his relocation. According to its Website, he is listed as having a valid license to practice medicine in Ohio, but says he's living in Shelbyville, the county seat of Shelby County, and located about 50 miles east of Springfield.

So to does the Web site for the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine. In fact, it specifically lists his address as 207 S. Pine St., Shelbyville, Ill., the address for SMH where he's no longer employed.

After graduating from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1983, Levine, 51, was granted his West Virginia license on July 20, 1988 and Ohio license on April 14, 1989. According to the Illinois Division of Professional Regulation's Web site, Levine was issued a license to practice medicine in Illinois on Oct. 25, 2001.
However, it lists his address in Waverly. All three of his licenses are set to expire in mid-2008.

Down the road before

Leaving the state in the midst of a lawsuit is nothing new to Levine. Prior to relocating to Ohio before being named in Shasteen's suit, records show Levine departed West Virginia for Illinois while leaving behind at least one then-pending suit, and the seeds of another.

Three weeks prior to receiving his Illinois license, Urata M. Singleton brought suit against Levine in Mason Circuit Court on Oct. 4, 2001. In her suit, Singleton alleged Levine failed to properly remove a Ganglion cyst from her left foot on April 7, 2000.

According to court records, the case was slated for trial on March 30, 2004. However, Singleton's attorney, Frank M. Armada, made a motion to dismiss the case after Mason Circuit Judge Thomas C. Evans III ruled he could not use a "confidential and privileged document" in the case. Though he denied a motion by Levine's attorneys to order Armada to return the document, Evans did instruct Armada not to disclose or discuss it, and dismissed the case on May 3, 2004.

About five months prior to Singleton filing her suit against him, Levine removed a catheter from the chest of Ralph A. Barcus of Gallipolis, Ohio. According to court records, Levine first inserted the catheter into Barcus in November 1999.

Subsequent to removal of the catheter, Barcus began experiencing chest pains. An X-ray of his chest, records show, reveled the remnants of the catheter.

It was not until Oct. 2006 when the last of the catheter, a holding disc, was removed from Barcus' chest. On Dec. 4, Barcus filed suit against Levine, and Pleasant Valley Hospital.

Though PVH was later voluntarily dismissed from the suit, it is still pending against Levine. Court records show it is slated for trial on Jan. 29, 2008 before Evans.

Prior to Singleton and Barcus, Levine was sued three other times for malpractice starting in 1994. All of those cases were either dismissed, or settled out-of-court.

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