West Virginia Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Estate claims Matulis failed to further investigate woman's pain complaints

State Court

By Carrie Bradon | Jul 12, 2019


CHARLESTON – A representative of an estate alleges her decedent was denied the opportunity for earlier treatment of cancer because a medical team deviated from accepted standards of medical care.

Christy Rock, as personal representative of the estate of Betty J. Frye, filed a complaint in Kanawha Circuit Court against Steven R. Matulis M.D., Charleston Gastroenterology Associates PLLC and Charleston Area Medical Center Inc. alleging negligence.

The suit states that Frye was admitted to Charleston Area Medical Center on June 10, 2013, and had a colonoscopy the same day by Matulis. Frye allegedly told Matulis that she had a history of rectal pain and had a rectal exam. Matulis allegedly reported that the procedure was unremarkable and did not refer her for medical imaging to find the source of her pain.


Matulis

Frye allegedly continued to suffer from rectal pain and had an MRI on Nov. 10, 2016, for an evaluation of the pain. The suit states the MRI identified stage four rectal cancer and Frye died on April 10, 2017.

The plaintiff is seeking all reasonable sums due, attorney fees and court costs. The plaintiff is represented by L. Dante DiTrapano of Calwell Luce DiTrapano PLLC in Charleston.

The case has been assigned to Judge Louis Bloom.

In November, Matulis was sentenced to prison for 1 to 5 years for first-degree sexual abuse. In October, a jury convicted him on the one count and acquitted him on two counts of sexual assault. Along with jail time, Matulis was ordered to pay $10,000 in fines, register as a sex offender and he faces five years of supervised release.

Matulis was accused of inappropriately touching patients while they were under anesthesia for procedures. When the investigation began two years ago, his medical license was switched to inactive. His trial last month lasted a week.

Matulis was initially charged with five counts of second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Several of the charges were dismissed prior to Matulis' trial by the circuit judge. At his trial, more than 25 people testified against Matulis, including four victims. 

There were several civil lawsuits filed against Matulis over the last two years, most also suing Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) and Charleston Gastroenterology Associates (CGA). The lawsuits each alleged that Matulis sexually abused or assaulted them.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 19-C-489

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