Woman sues physician for husband’s death

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 16, 2012

CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing a Charleston physician she claims is responsible for her husband’s wrongful death.

On Feb. 16, 2011, at approximately 3:32 p.m., Cluther Allen Ray presented to the emergency department of Thomas Memorial Hospital, after leaving work, with complaints of abdominal pain and upper gastric pain, according to a complaint filed Sept. 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Julie Ray, Cluther Ray’s wife, claims in the waiting room, among other tests, an EKG and cardiac enzymes were performed on Cuther Ray.

At approximately 5:41 p.m., Cluther Ray was placed in a bed and, according to the suit, the emergency room doctor called Dr. John Neville Jr., the attending doctor, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. for admission with the diagnosis of abdominal pain.

Julie Ray claims at 11:45 p.m., a floor nurse noticed the elevated enzymes and called Neville, who ordered Lovenox and for a cardiologist to see Cluther Ray, but not urgently.

Neville did not come in to the hospital to evaluate or examine Cluther Ray, even though he was notified of the elevated cardiac enzymes, according to the suit.

Julie Ray claims on Feb. 17, 2011, at approximately 10 a.m., a cardiologist was consulted when it was discovered that the EKG done the previous day was not normal and had been misread by the emergency room doctor and in fact, revealed a heart attack.

After seeing the cardiologist, Cluther Ray underwent emergency cardiac catheterization and was transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center, where he had emergency heart surgery, according to the suit.

Julie Ray claims after the surgery, Cluther Ray lived until May 4, 2011, never leaving the hospital, suffering from heart failure due to the delay in diagnosing and treating his heart attack.

As a complication of his heart attack, during his stay at Charleston Area Medical Center, Cluther Ray suffered amputation of both of his legs, among other injuries, according to the suit.

Julie Ray claims as a result of Neville’s negligence, her husband’s estate has incurred medical bills in excess of $700,000.

As a result of Neville’s negligence, Cluther Ray’s estate also incurred economic loss in excess of $600,000, according to the suit.

Julie Ray claims the defendant negligently failed to come to the hospital to evaluate and examine Cluther Ray, negligently failed to get him a cardiac consult immediately and negligently failed to timely diagnose and treat Cluther Ray’s heart attack.

Neville’s actions were willful, wanton and with reckless disregard to harm, according to the suit.

Julie 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 James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1865

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