Woman sues physician for husband's death

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 25, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County woman is suing a physician she claims is responsible for her husband's death.

On Feb. 16, Cluther Allen Ray presented to the emergency department of Thomas Memorial Hospital with complaints of abdominal pain and upper gastric pain, according to a complaint filed Sept. 30 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Julie Ray claims in the waiting room, among other tests, an EKG and cardiac enzymes were performed on her husband.

Approximately two hours after arriving in the emergency department, Mr. Ray was placed in a bed and an hour after that, Dr. Michael Willford Halley first came to visit him, according to the suit.

Mrs. Ray claims Halley's dictated summary stated that Mr. Ray was being admitted for "acute upper abdominal pain of unknown cause," and that he made no mention of the results of the cardiac enzymes blood test, but stated that the EKG was normal.

On Feb. 17, a cardiologist was consulted when it was discovered that the EKG was not normal, as Halley had said, but in fact revealed that Mr. Ray had suffered a heart attack, according to the suit.

Mrs. Ray claims her husband underwent emergency cardiac catheterization and was transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center, where he had emergency heart surgery.

Mr. Ray lived until May 4, never leaving the hospital, suffering from heart failure due to the delay in diagnosing and treating his heart attack, according to the suit.

Mrs. Ray claims as a result of Halley's negligence, she and her husband incurred medical bills in excess of $700,000.

As a result of Halley's negligence, the Rays incurred economic loss in excess of $600,000, according to the suit.

Mrs. Ray is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Richard D. Lindsay.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Pail Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1721

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