Ky. woman sues physician for husband's death

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 15, 2012

HUNTINGTON -- A Flatwoods, Ky., woman is suing a Huntington physician she claims is responsible for her husband's death.

Pairodocs, Inc. and Admiral Insurance Company were also named as defendants in the suit.

On April 22, 2008, Barry Blackburn became a patient of Dr. Philip Fisher, according to a complaint filed Jan. 27 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Pamela Blackburn claims at the initial examination and evaluation, the defendants discontinued the use of one of his pain medications and prescribed Methadone 10mg to be taken three times daily for severe chronic pain.

Barry Blackburn died two days later at a baseball game in front of his small children from the acute combination of Methadone, Fluoxetine and Dextromethorophan, according to the suit. Fluoxetine and Dextromethorophan are the main ingredients in over-the-counter cold medication.

Pamela Blackburn claims a few days after he husband's death, she contacted the defendants to inquire about his pain medications and was told that all Fisher had done was continue Barry Blackburn's pain medication.

Based on this representation, Pamela Blackburn had no reason to suspect any malpractice or other wrongdoing had occurred as a result of the defendants' actions, according to the suit, until 2011, when the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy inquired concerning Fisher's practice of prescribing narcotic pain medication.

Pamela Blackburn claims it was then that she discovered her husband had been prescribed Methadone, which was supposed to be "individualized and slowly titrated to response when a person initially begins or has been off of the medication. If not, the medication can cause serious side effects, including death."

The defendants deviated from the standard of care by prescribing the dose of Methadone when Barry Blackburn was "opiate naive" and caused his death, according to the suit.

Pamela Blackburn is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by William M. Tiano.

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

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 12-C-65

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