BECKLEY – The United States will pay $475,000 to settle the lawsuit of a Raleigh County couple who claimed a doctor at a federally funded OBGYN clinic botched a procedure.

Tammy and David Embrey’s complaint, filed Aug. 29, 2011, alleged Dr. Michael T. Webb of Access Health/Associates in OBGYN in Beckley damaged her left ureter during an exploratory laparotomy in 2008.

Webb also didn’t identify the mistake quickly enough to prevent permanent injury to Tammy Embrey, the complaint said.

“As a result of the negligence of Dr. Webb, Tammy Embrey required multiple additional surgeries and hospitalizations, including ureter implants,” says the complaint, filed Arden J. Curry of Pauley Curry in Charleston.

Though the case was nearly two years old when it was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger, the docket sheet shows only 29 entries.

The United States was represented by Fred B. Westfall, Jr., an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Charleston.

In an answer filed in 2011, Westfall argued the negligence of the plaintiffs was the sole and proximate cause of the injuries and damages alleged in the complaint.

A release signed May 22 states that the United States did not admit liability in settling the claim. It adds that the Embreys will be paid out of the Judgment Fund that pays judgments and settlements for cases involving the United States and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Prior to the settlement being reached, the United States moved to preclude the Embreys from introducing testimony from two medical professionals identified as potential expert witnesses.

Nurse Catherine W. Ingebrigtsen and Dr. Richard Paul Bonfiglio were disclosed as potential expert witnesses by the plaintiffs on Oct. 1. They were possibly going to testify to the future medical needs of Embrey if it were determined she had some form of permanent damages to her left kidney.

Westfall argued that the plaintiffs did not provide any reports from either and had not presented any medical evidence that Embrey has permanent damages to her left kidney.

Berger ruled for the United States on the matter on April 2. The plaintiffs never filed a response to the motion.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.




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