McDowell Co. woman blames Bluefield Hospital for belated diagnosis

By Dan Harkins | Aug 26, 2015

PRINCETON -- A McDowell County woman is suing a Bluefield hospital over repeated surgeries allegedly required to fix problems that should have been diagnosed much earlier.


PRINCETON -- A McDowell County woman is suing a Bluefield hospital over repeated surgeries allegedly required to fix problems that should have been diagnosed much earlier.

Clarice Bailey filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in Mercer Circuit Court against Bluefield Hospital Company, doing business as Bluefield Regional Medical Center.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 21, 2012, Bailey was admitted to Bluefield Regional Medical Center because she was nauseous, vomiting and suffering abdominal pain, and Dr. Harold Cofer diagnosed her with recurrent partial small bowel obstruction, which he treated with IV antibiotics, NC suction and pain management, which resolved the bowel obstruction.

During this treatment, a CT scan revealed an "upper pole right renal mass," which was suspected of malignancy, the lawsuit states. Four days later, she underwent a percutaneous, CT-guided needle biopsy, as well as an X-ray to ensure against pneumothorax. An enlarging, right pleural effusion was then discovered, the lawsuit states, and increased pain developed over the ensuing days.

On Jan. 31, 2012, Bailey complained to the defendants' nurses of painful, shallow breathing, the lawsuit states, but nothing in her patient log shows these complaints were forwarded to her doctor, and she was discharged the next day.

On Feb. 5, 2012, Bailey was readmitted to Bluefield Regional with abdominal pain that radiated to her right shoulder and back, as well as anorexia, low-grade fever and sinus tachycardia, the lawsuit states. Another X-ray showed a large pleural effusion, which was treated yet again with pain management and IV fluids, the lawsuit says.

On Feb. 7, 2012, the suit says, Bailey was transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center, where she underwent drainage of a large, right hemothorax, placement of an IVC filter Feb.12, and a right, video-assisted thorascopic surgery for removal of residual hemothorax and decortication Feb. 14.

Not until Feb. 25, 2014, the lawsuit states, did Bailey learn about Bluefield Regional's failure to treat the pleural effusion in a timely way.

The plaintiff alleges multiple invasive surgeries, right lung injury, sustained physical pain, anxiety, and mental anguish.

Bailey seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages to compensate for medical expenses, pain and suffering, plus legal costs. She is represented by attorneys John R. Mitchell and David M. Dawson of the John R. Mitchell law firm in Charleston.

Mercer County Circuit Court case number 15C295OA.

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