One suit settled, another dismissed against former Mason doctor

By Lawrence Smith | May 30, 2008

CHARLESTON – Two civil suits involving a former Mason County physician have come to some sort of conclusion.

CHARLESTON – Two civil suits involving a former Mason County physician have come to some sort of conclusion.

On April 22, a malpractice suit Ralph Barcus brought against Dr. Jack M. Levine was "fully compromised and settled." A month earlier, U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers ordered the case removed from the active docket when legal counsel for both sides informed him that a possible settlement was in the works.

Originally filed in Mason Circuit Court on Dec. 4, 2006, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court's Huntington division on May 27, 2007.

In the suit, Barcus, of Gallipolis, Ohio, alleged Levine inserted a catheter into his chest in November 1999. Levine later removed the catheter in May 2001.

However, Barcus alleged that Levine failed to remove the entire catheter. According to his suit, another physician in 2004 discovered that an object near Barcus' mid-left lung was a holding disc from the catheter.

It was not until two years later that the disc was removed, records show.

When contacted, Levine's attorney, Barry M. Taylor, with the Huntington law firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, declined to comment on the terms of settlement. Also, Barcus' attorney, Michael Eachus, with the Gallipolis law firm of Eachus and Finley, was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this year, a wrongful death suit in Shelbyville, Ill., in which Levine was named as a respondent-in-discovery, was dismissed. According to court records, on Jan. 24 Shelby Circuit Judge Kimberly Koster dismissed the suit because of its lack of a certificate stating the death of Donna Ogilvie was "willingly wrongful."

The case which was filed by Penny Shasteen, Ogilvie's daughter, and the special administrator of her estate, alleged that Dr. Arnold V. Agapito, Shelby Memorial Hospital and Shelby Area Ambulance Service, where all in some way responsible for Ogilvie's death. Court records show, Ogilvie died at Decatur Memorial Hospital 15 days after Levine performed a colonoscopy on her at Shelby Memorial Hospital on Oct. 25, 2005.

Though Levine performed the surgery, Shasteen's suit placed the blame on her mother's death on Agapito for first, not properly preparing her for surgery, and second, not timely informing Levine of post-surgical complications. As a respondent-in-discovery, Levine was asked to comply with all discovery requests made by Shasteen.

Though the wrongful death was dismissed, it was done so without prejudice. According to Shasteen, Koster gave her one year to refile it with the proper certificate.

"We are working with our experts and we intend to refile," Shasteen said. "There are so many acts of misconduct in my mother's death that I don't intend to stop until I find the truth."

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Huntington Division), Case No. 07-cv-331

Shelby, Illinois Circuit Court, Case No. 2007L27

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