CHARLESTON – A woman is suing Charleston Area Medical Center and the West Virginia University Board of Governors after she claims they are responsible for her mother’s death.

CAMC employed Dr. Christopher Wilson, who participated in and/or was responsible for the care and treatment of Joyce Whittington from April 10, 2014, until her discharge on April 15, 2014, according to a complaint filed March 30 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Julie Herman claims WVUBOG employed Dr. James Daniel Gallagher, who participated in and/or was responsible for the care and treatment of Whittington from March 24, 2014, until her death on April 30, 2014.

On March 24, 2014, Whittington went to the emergency room at CAMC and was admitted and disagnosed with new onset atrial fibrillation and came under Gallagher’s care, according to the suit.

Herman claims Gallagher was area of the medications Whittington was taking for her other medical problems and on March 26, 2014, he ordered a large colume loading dose of Amiodarone. In addition to this, he also ordered the titrated drip of additional Amiodarone by mouth each day for 14 days beginning March 27, 2014.

On March 28, 2014, Whittington had a pulmonary function test, which showed that she had moderate restrictive lung disease and decreased lung capacity and Gallagher was negligent and deviated from the appropriate standard of medical care by failing to consider her co-morbidities when deciding what does of Amiodarone to order and by failing to order the lowest effective dose for her, according to the suit.

Herman claims on April 4, Whittington was seen by a nurse practitioner employed by WVU Physicians of Charleston for symptoms of shortness of breath, difficulty walking, thinking and dry mouth and was informed that these symptoms would go away when she reached the Amiodarone maintenance dose ordered by Gallagher.

On April 10, 2014, Whittington went to the emergency room at CAMC with a primary complaint of shortness of breath and came under Wilson’s care. Wilson ordered her to be given 400mg of Amiodarone three times a day, even though that order would be in conflict with Gallagher’s tapering dose of 400mg twice a day.

Over the next few days, the dose was changed to 400mg daily and then 200mg daily and Whittington was discharged on April 14, 2014, according to the suit.

Herman claims Whittington went to the emergency room at CAMC again on April 26, 2014, and she refused another dose of Amiodarone. On April 30, 2014, she died of acute respiratory failure due to Amiodarone toxicity.

Herman is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Tony L. O’Dell and Cheryl A. Fisher of Tiano O’Dell PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-458

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Tiano O'Dell, PLLC West Virginia University

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