The thousands of malpractice cases reported to the state Board
of Medicine since 1993 allege a host of medical errors and negligence by
Many blame doctors for a death. Others fault physicians for brain
damage suffered by an infant at birth. Some cases allege the wrong organ
was removed, or the wrong limb amputated.
Two-thirds of the malpractice cases reported to the board ended
with settlements or jury verdicts in the plaintiff's favor. The following
are some examples:
- Dr. Harry G. Kennedy Jr. agreed to pay $4.35 million to settle a 1994
Harrison County case that left a 20-year-old woman permanently disabled
with brain damage.
The woman had gone to a Clarksburg hospital's emergency room in 1993
complaining of severe headaches. Kennedy, a radiologist, misread a scan of
her brain as normal, the claim alleged.
The woman returned to the ER the following week, as the headaches had
grown worse. Only then did doctors discover that she had a blood clot in
her brain. By then, her brain had begun to swell, causing permanent brain
Dr. Shivshankar Uchila Navada, a Clarksburg neurosurgeon, saw the woman
after CT scans revealed the blood clot. But Navada operated on the woman's
The woman was flown to Charleston, where another neurosurgeon saved her
life. But brain swelling caused a temporary coma and a stroke-like
condition. She lost the ability to both walk and speak.
Navada settled out of the case for $1.65 million. The settlements by
Kennedy and Navada paid for crucial rehabilitation care for the woman that
partly restored her speech and ability to walk, one court filing said. But
both skills remain impaired, and she is considered disabled for life.
- Dr. Dwarka N. Vemuri paid $4 million to settle claims by three
different women, including a 69-year-old nun, who accused the Wheeling
cardiologist of fraud. Vemuri performed unnecessary angioplasties, surgery
to open blocked blood vessels, on all three, their claims alleged.
One alleged a torn artery from the process required emergency surgery to
- Dr. Stuart Henry Fox has paid $2.7 million to settle eight
claims filed against him. The Huntington obstetrician was ordered
to pay $177,578 by a 1999 jury in a ninth claim, while another jury
cleared him in a 10th.
At least three of these cases blamed Fox for a death, while a fourth
faulted him for a botched abortion-related procedure.
Fox's medical license was placed on probation in 1994 after the widower