West Virginia Judge Declares No-Show Doctor Liable

West Virginia Judge Declares No-Show Doctor LiablePhillip Stowers, a Putnam Circuit Judge, ruled on Thursday, March 15, that John King owes damages to 22 patients he treated while working as a physician at Putnam General Hospital after several medical malpractice lawsuits were filed, the Charleston Gazette reports.

According to the news source, Stowers delivered a default judgment after King missed the hearing on Thursday, and did not send any representation on his behalf. Stowers added that King recently called his office at the Putnam County Courthouse.

“I told him he had to be at this hearing,” Stowers said. “He had notice of this hearing. He knew he had to be here by counsel or in person.”

Stowers has denied any chance for further postponement of the hearing, and issued King a default ruling.

“I have made Dr. King liable for [his former patients] personally,” the judge stated, speaking on how King’s 2007 bankruptcy filing would have protected him from such a lawsuit had the court not found out he had concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The news source stated King was an osteopathic surgeon at Putnam General, and in his time at the healthcare provider was the center of 124 medical malpractice lawsuits with various charges between November 2002 and June 2003. Since then, his medical license has been revoked in several states.

When King was working for Putnam General, the medical center was owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, which paid more than $100 million to settle the medical malpractice lawsuits. Stowers encouraged one medical malpractice lawyer representing Adkins and 21 other patients to submit letters, statements and their medical bills to the court.

“You can also file videotaped summaries of what happened to them,” the judge told the lawyer. “I don’t want these folks to be deprived of being able to appear in court… The public has a right to know.”

The attorney has been asked to submit all documents relevant to the case by May 11. King will then have a 30-day opportunity to contest anything presented, and the lawyer would have 30 days to respond.

According to the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, the state defines a claim for medical malpractice as “a claim arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care services,” while an action of medical malpractice is “a breach of contract claim for damages due to the death, injury or monetary loss to any person” regarding improper healthcare treatment.

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