According to the Charleston Gazette, Putnam General Hospital in West Virginia was guilty of “wantonness, recklessness and gross negligence” in not properly checking the background of John A. King, a surgeon who is now facing more malpractice lawsuits than any other doctor in the state’s history.
Since November of 2002, 122 of King’s patients have filed suit claiming King injured them during surgery. From the Charleston Gazette:
King, who changed his name to Christopher Wallace Martin last year after claiming people were trying to steal his identity, did not appear at the Putnam County Courthouse during the trial, which began July 16.
Late Tuesday morning, before lawyers for each side made their final arguments in a packed courtroom, Spaulding gave the jury detailed instructions about how they should examine evidence in the case.
A critical factor, the judge said, was Putnam General’s loss of all the original files about privileging and credentialing King.
“Putnam General had a definite duty to preserve it. But Putnam General failed to preserve the files,” Spaulding told the jurors. “Because the hospital lost the credentialing files, you may infer that if the hospital had saved the original privileging files, it would have contained information that was adverse to them … and favorable to the plaintiffs.”
Before offering King a post, Curry added, Putnam General administrators promised to pay him $35,000 a month, as well as a $45,000 signing bonus, $15,000 in moving fees and $5,000 in advertising costs.