Couple claim doctors didn't diagnose daughter's hearing problem

By Kelly Holleran | Jan 28, 2010

BECKLEY – A Piney View couple say they and their daughter have suffered "indescribable damages" after a pediatrician and doctors at Raleigh General Hospital failed to diagnose their daughter with hearing problems.

Paula and Scott Adkins filed a lawsuit Dec. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of their minor daughter, Alexa Adkins, against Raleigh General Hospital, Dr. Raoul Y. Malonzo and the United States of America.

The Adkins claim Paula Adkins delivered Alexa Adkins at Raleigh General Hospital on Feb. 17, 1999, following an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery.

Doctors discharged Alexa on Feb. 19, 1999, at 9:50 a.m. after indicating they had completed the requisite West Virginia Hearing Commission Screen, according to the complaint.

After Alexa's birth, Dr. Malonzo served as her primary physician from Sept. 20, 2009, through Oct. 7, 2002, the suit states. Malonzo worked at Access Health Systems, which is owned by defendant United States of America through the Department of Health and Human Services, the complaint says.

The Adkins claim Malonzo failed to recognize speech disorders or hearing loss at routine baby exams.

"Paula Adkins complained during several visits to see Raoul Malonzo, M.D. that Alexa was having problems with hearing and speech, to which he responded and documented that Plaintiff Alexa Adkins was a 'well child' with no hearing or speech problems," the complaint says.

The Adkins allege negligence against the defendants.

"Raleigh General Hospital knew or should have known that newborn infants including but not limited to Alexa Adkins could have hearing loss or difficulties at birth and if not properly diagnosed at birth, could lead to serious developmental delays and serious speech and hearing problems," the suit states.

Because of the defendants' actions, the Adkins say Alexa has suffered developmental delays which will result in lower wages and earning capacity in the future. In addition, the couple has incurred medical costs and has suffered the future losses of their daughter's services, protection, care and assistance, the complaint says.

The Adkins seek actual damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Stephen P. New of Beckley will be representing them.

U.S. District Court case number: 5:09-cv-1307

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