Boone woman says misdiagnosis led to husband's death

By Cara Bailey | May 23, 2008

CHARLESTON - A Boone County woman has filed a suit against a physician who treated her husband, claiming he failed to diagnose a cancerous lung tumor, which ultimately contributed to his death.

Lisa Mathews filed the suit April 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of her late husband, Robert Mathews. The case is against Robert B. Altmeyer, M.D.

Robert Mathews died January 15, 2005, as a result of silicosis and lung cancer, the suit says.

According to the suit, Mathews was exposed to silica dust at his job, which resulted in the silicosis and lung cancer.

According to the suit, Altmeyer examined Mathews on Nov. 17, 2003, which included a chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. Altmeyer diagnosed Mathews with silicosis but did not find any other abnormalities.

However, according to the suit, three other physicians examined the x-ray and found a Stage II lung tumor was present. Lisa Mathews claims Altmeyer failed to exercise the degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a "reasonable, prudent health care provider," the suit says.

According to the suit, by failing to diagnose the lung nodule, Altmeyer deprived Robert Mathews a chance of recovery and experienced an increased risk of harm, which was a substantial factor in his death.

Lisa Mathews seeks punitive and compensatory damages for the heirs and beneficiaries of Robert Mathews.

Attorney Guy R. Bucci is representing Mathews. The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-776

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