Complaint Filed in Cabell Circuit Court
Last month, Cara Davis, administrator of the estate of Rosemarie Lynn McNeely, filed a medical negligence claim in Cabell Circuit Court against Dr. Neil Panchal and Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Jody Frazier. Davis’s complaint accuses Dr. Panchal and Nurse Practitioner Frazier of failing to correctly assess Ms. McNeely’s condition.
Also named in the complaint were VEP Healthcare, Atlas Locum Tenens, Atlas Physicians, St. Mary’s Medical Center doing business as St. Mary’s Emergency Department, USACS Management Group, US Acute Care Solutions, and USACS Medical Group. VEP Healthcare, Atlas Locum Tenens, Atlas Physicians, and USACS are accused of vicarious liability because Dr. Panchal and Frazier were employed and/or were agents of those companies. St. Mary’s is accused of agent/joint venture liability because they had a contractual agreement with VEP fro VEP to provide ER staffing services at St. Mary’s Hospital.
What Happened to Ms. McNeely
In December 2019, Rosemarie Lynn McNeely went to St. Mary’s ER complaining of chest pains. At the time, she was seen by Nurse Practitioner Jody Frazier who triaged her at non-urgent level 4. At the time of her admission, Ms. McNeely’s vital signs included a 93% pulse oximetry reading and a BMI of 41 (this places Ms. McNeely in the obese category, increasing her health risks). Ms. McNeely also told Frazier that she had been diagnosed with bronchitis at Med Express.
According to Frazier’s notes, she suspected that Ms. McNeely had pneumonia and/or an upper respiratory infection. She then prescribed Ms. McNeely Zithromax (an antibiotic) and discharged her. As noted in the complaint, Frazier didn’t order chest x-rays, bloodwork, EKG, or other diagnostic tests while Ms. McNeely was at St. Mary’s. It appears that a physician never saw nor treated Ms. McNeely.
After discharge, Ms. McNeely passed away due to cardiac tamponade from a ruptured dissecting aneurism of the ascending thoracic aorta measured 14.5x4 centimeters.
Dr. Panchal Seeks to Be Dismissed from the Case
Dr. Panchal was listed as Ms. McNeely’s admitting and attending physician. However, despite this, there are no notes from Dr. Panchal regarding his findings, and Dr. Panchal alleges that he not only did not provide care to Ms. McNeely, but he wasn’t even working the day she visited St. Mary’s. Consequently, Dr. Panchal is seeking to be dismissed from the case.
Ms. McNeely Deserved Better
Davis’ complaint points out that Ms. McNeely’s condition, including her chest pain, low pulse oximetry reading, and obesity, should have raised concerns about a pulmonary embolism. It should have also triggered them to order chest ex-rays, an EKG, and lab work. And, importantly, she should have been seen and treated by a physician, not solely by a nurse practitioner.
Attorney Mark Staun of Hartley Law Group is serving as one of the plaintiff’s attorneys. To The West Virginia Record, Attorney Staun said, “I don’t think a 23-year-old should be discharged from an emergency room with chest pain who was only examined by a nurse practitioner with no tests. Our citizens deserve better. Patients deserve to be seen by physicians.”
Another major issue in this case is that, according to Ms. McNeely’s care records, a Dr. Terry G. Sanders electronically co-signed Frazier’s notes. However, this was not done until four days later, after Ms. McNeely had died. Dr. Sanders’ name does not appear anywhere else in her medical records. Attorney Staun points out, “I don’t know how someone can be listed as the admitting and attending physician and not even be working.”
Davis Seeks Compensatory Damages with Help from Hartley Law Group
Davis is represented by Attorneys Staun and R. Dean Hartley of Hartley Law Group in Charleston and Attorney John W. Alderman III of Charleston. She is seeking compensatory damages, pre-and post-judgment interest, and other relief.
Medical negligence cases like this one can be extremely complicated and emotionally difficult to go through. Hartley Law Group understands how challenging the process is, but we believe it is important that the responsible parties are held accountable. The public places immense trust in our physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers. When they neglect their duty of care, it can be fatal.
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical negligence or medical malpractice, you are not alone. Hartley Law Group is here to help you seek justice. We are here for our clients when they need us most. Send us a message online to schedule a consultation.