Couple blame surgeon for woman's problems

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 5, 2009

HUNTINGTON – A woman and her husband have filed a lawsuit in Cabell Circuit Court against a doctor who performed a surgery to help with a pelvic condition that they say caused the woman to suffer adverse effects.

Kim and Bert Roe filed a lawsuit Aug. 24 in Cabell Circuit Court against Dr. Mitchell E. Nutt.

The plaintiffs sued Nutt over his alleged negligence in performing Kim Roe's hysterectomy, salpingo-oopherectomy, lysis of adhesions and anterior and posterior colporrhaphy he performed on July 16, 2007.

Kim Roe originally visited Nutt in July 2007 at age 32 with complaints of stress urinary incontinence and a prior medical history including endometriosis and rectovaginal fistula, according to a screening certificate of merit completed by Dr. John D. Davis of Florida.

Nutt diagnosed Kim Roe with pelvic organ prolapse -– a condition that can follow childbirth or surgery –- and recommended a hysterectomy for pain and bleeding, the certificate of merit states.

However, not even one year earlier, Nutt found normal pelvic support in Kim Roe on Sept. 22, 2006, the certificate of merit says.

"Dr. Nutt's records of July 2007 reflect a diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse requiring surgery," Davis wrote. "In my professional experience, it would be unusual for pelvic organ prolapse requiring surgical repair to develop between September 2006 and July 2007."

Still, Kim Roe underwent a hysterectomy and Nutt implanted an Avaulta posterior mesh graft, which increased the risk of a recurrence of rectovaginal fistula, Davis's certificate of merit says. The Avaulta product is a type of surgical mesh used to keep the pelvic organ in place in women suffering from pelvic organ prolapsed.

In addition, Nutt should never have removed both of Kim Roe's ovaries, according the certificate of merit.

"It is my professional medical opinion that there were no indications to remove both of Mrs. Roe's ovaries (i.e. castrate her) without well-recognized indications and a clearly documented discussion with the patient concerning the medical ramifications of removal of both ovaries," the certificate of merit states. "It is beneath the standards of care of the medical profession generally under like or similar circumstances to remove the ovaries of a 32-year-old woman with the presentation and findings she had at that time."

After her surgery, Kim Roe experienced urinary retention, which can lead to an atonic bladder and kidney dysfunction, Davis wrote.
To this day, Kim Roe continues to experience pain and dyspareunia, which were in part caused by Nutt's negligence, Davis's certificate of merit states.

Nutt operated on many women in the Huntington area who later experienced problems with a product called Avaulta Anterior and Posterior Biosynthetic Support Systems.

Many of those women have since filed lawsuits against the New Jersey Company C.R. Bard that developed the product.

But the Roes filed suit against Nutt, saying his treatment of Kim Roe has caused her to experience significant mental and physical pain and suffering, permanent injury, physical deformity and loss of a bodily organ system. In addition, she has already undergone and in the future will more than likely undergo corrective surgery and lost wages, the suit states.

Kim Roe says Nutt's negligence has interfered with physical relations with her husband.

Bert Roe is seeking damages for loss of consortium, companionship, society, affection, services and support.

"Dr. Nutt's care and treatment of Plaintiff Kim Roe deviated from the standard of care of the medical profession generally under like or similar circumstances, and was negligent," the suit states.

The Roes are seeking punitive damages and compensatory damages on counts of negligence and loss of consortium, plus costs, attorneys' fees, interest and other relief to which they are entitled.

Paul T. Ferrell Jr. and Lawrence J. Tweel of Greene, Ketchum, Bailey, Walker, Farrell and Tweel and J. Robert Rogers of Hurricane are representing the Roes.

The case has been assigned to Cabell Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 09-C-696

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