Woman sues oncologist, his practice for husband's death

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 5, 2010

CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing a Charleston oncologist and his practice after the death of her husband.

On Nov. 29, 2007, Dr. Safique Ahmed performed a CT scan of the abdomen on Scotty Rakes, which revealed a small anterior metastatic lymph node, according to a complaint filed Dec. 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Mr. Rakes' wife, Beverly Rakes, claims Ahmed then ordered and performed a full body CT scan and PET scan on her husband. The CT scan was negative and the PET scan revealed some hypermetabiolic uptake for which a laryngeal malignancy could not be excluded. She claims employees of Charleston Area Medical Center noted an ENT referral would be appropriate.

Ahmed began to provide chemotherapy for Mr. Rakes Jan. 21, 2008, without having a laryngoscope performed on him. According to the suit, Mr. Rakes requested a second opinion and on Feb. 27, Dr. Wade Douglass performed a laryngoscope, which revealed a normal larynx and upper esophagus, and as a result, there was nothing to biopsy.

Despite Douglass' finding, Ahmed performed a third round of chemotherapy between March 3 and 5. According to the suit, after the third round, Mr. Rakes came to Ahmed's practice and was admitted to Logan General Hospital for neutropenia secondary to chemotherapy.

Mr. Rakes died March 13 while at the hospital, according to the suit. Mrs. Rakes claims her husband never suffered from any type of laryngeal malignancy prior to chemotherapy, and that the chemotherapy was provided for a cancer he did not have.

Mrs. Rakes is seeking compensatory damages for negligence and wrongful death. She is being represented by Arden J. Curry II of Pauley Curry, PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-2228

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