Hospital Found Negligent For Hiring Worst Doctor Ever

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.


Hospital found negligent [Charleston Gazette via WSJ Health Blog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. shoegazer says:

    wantonness(n.) – the quality of being lewd and lascivious

    The hospital was being a slut?

  2. B says:

    Well, that’s what they get for hiring Dr. Nick Riveria.

  3. Shouldn’t it be “wanton recklessness”?

    This isn’t unusual though, is it? Haven’t companies been found liable before for hiring people they shouldn’t have?

  4. JuliusJefferson says:

    Supposedly he left West Virginia, changed his name and somehow was practicing medicine somewhere around Birmingham, AL. He’s also facing litigation down here as well after he was “found out.”

  5. Meg Marco says:

    @shoegazer: Yes?

  6. Bobg says:

    My son-in-law was injured on the job and now has RSD-a degenerative nerve disease. He has been sent to 34 doctors by the insurance company. 5 doctors have said that there is no such thing as RSD (Google it,) 2 doctors have said it is all in his head and wanted to set up psychiatric sessions at $175 per visit, one doctor moved his arm quickly and when he screamed out in pain the doctor refused to examine him anymore (but he wrote out a 12 page report stating that he didn’t see any evidence of RSD). My son-in-law now spends his day in a semi-fetal position in a wheelchair and the insurance company is still trying to find a doctor that will testify that there is nothing wrong with him. After seeing what my son-in-law has gone through I am terrified of doctors. The old saying that doctors bury their mistakes has some truth to it.

  7. Paul D says:

    Once again, it’s important for everyone to remember that even the last dipwad in his class at med school still gets to be called “Doctor.”

  8. howie_in_az says:

    @Bobg: I’d be more scared of insurance companies. My father recently passed away after battling renal cancer. At one point the insurance company took several weeks deciding whether or not he should receive some pricey medications. His own doctor told the insurance company that without these medications he’d be a goner for sure, but they still had to ‘deliberate’.

    They’re all bastards as far as I’m concerned.

  9. B says:

    @Paul D: That’s not necessarily true. The dipwad who was last in his class still had to pass all his classes, complete his residency and pass the medical bar.

  10. SonicPhoenix says:


    Stop seeing doctors and start seeing a lawyer.

  11. Bourque77 says:

    Hospitals are some of the worst/scariest companies in the world. You wont have employees speaking out against them because they’ll have their medical license revoked (if they have one). My dad went to the emergency room with a broken back and the genius doctor there gave him a shot and sent him home. Later when he went to his doctor he confirmed with x-rays how bad his back was. Evidently later that day the brass got in touch with that doctor because the next time he spoke to my dad his story changed completely. They have so much money and power nobody wants to speak out against them its scary.

  12. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    I was scared of doctors to begin with, the above comments have not helped

  13. QuirkyRachel says:

    FYI there’s a whole book out there on how to survive staying in the hospital. Titled, “Take This Book To The Hospital With You…A Consumer Guide To Surviving Your Hospital Stay “

  14. Chrome says:

    This hospital is in my hometown. I know Dr. King and my feelings towards him cannot be publicly stated without makins saliors blush and thier children cry.

    I can only hope he gets what he deserves.


  15. Chicago7 says:


    HI, everybody!

    HI, Dr. Nick.

  16. @B:

    the Simpsons show (even just a little) in all of us…

    Hi, Dr. Nick!

  17. Onouris says:


    Indeed. I’m not so sure American doctors care about the patients they look after, just their income and their numbers.

    Basically like most other companies, then.

  18. Charles Duffy says:

    @Onouris: I know a doctor who is an exception to that rule; he was at the top of his class in med school, and yet is perhaps the most humble individual I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. He stopped practicing for reasons largely related to the kinds of systemic issues discussed here.

  19. bnissan97 says:

    This is rough. Some doctors are fine and others suck and then there are those who are downright evil.

    I read about HOWIE_IN_AZ who said, “At one point the insurance company took several weeks deciding whether or not he should receive some pricey medications.” I suggest try my tactic. Tell them your going to the ER and tell them you are going to sit on a Psyc ward until they decide to pay for whatever. So they will ultimately end up paying for whatever PLUS the Psyc ward bills. Which is more cost effective for your company?

    I had two surgeries for deviated septum by a doc in my state that has a high record of being sued. I knew this ahead of time. I had wonderful results. This was in 1999 and 2000. I still need to write him a thank you!! Not only can I breathe now, but also he made my crooked big nose straight and made it smaller so many birds got killed with one stone. I can now breathe and thus better sleep and take no more antibiotics. Before I was on antibiotics like every four weeks because without being able to drain-well stuff sat wherever and got infected.

    I had a deviated septum soo bad I couldn’t breathe through my nose. I had this for years before I went to him and doctors would just visually look at me and mention it needs fixed. I however had to wait till I had insurance for it.

    Once I finally got into the insurance plan before I came to the doc that ultimately operated on my nose, I went to the doc who the “primary care” physician referred me to. He was my primary care physician under that plan but by no means the physician I used/use not being on that plan.

    That doc acted like I was crazy and all the nose being not right and infections that other doctors prescribed antibiotics for was in my mind.

    So I exercised the 80/20 portion of the plan versus the HMO and went to the doc that ended up fixing my nose. I had to play the game and change primary care physicians so the doc that did my nose, told me which primary to change to avoid hassles.

    When speaking to the office gal at the new Primary care physician I told her that one doc acted like it was in my head and she said-“I saw him as well and he did the same to me. The thing he didn’t know or pay attention to was that I work for the doctor and I see the report he wrote, he wrote like it was in my head as well.”

    I was new to the insurance and ultimately they disapproved the surgery and the surgery was cancelled. So I called and got to the head in my town and he happened to be a doctor. He told me that the goal of insurance companies is to save money etc.. I told him “I am GOING to have my nose fixed after waiting for 10 years and seeing numerous doctors who said it is necessary. So you can deliberate and choose to approve this now or I am going to go to the ER and tell them I want to kill myself and I will sit in a psyc ward which you will be paying for while you deliberate. Which will save you more money? Approving the surgery or approving surgery and paying for a psyc ward stay?”

    He told me to come in and see him and I went to his office and from across the office he looked at my nose and said, “I can tell it needs done-it is way crooked.” He then called the hospital right away to see if he could get me in the time slot I had, then called the doctors office and the surgery was a go.

    So I had battles with Doctors and insurance companies.

    So just persevere and don’t give up.

    I do wish however that there were laws that you didn’t have to pay for visits to doctors that go unsuccessful. I have decided that if the sort happens to me again, I will not pay or pay and take the doc that was awful to small claims court for my monies back.

  20. abbamouse says:

    They let him perform surgery? The article says he’s accused of screwing up more than a hundred surgeries — but he wasn’t the “worst doctor ever” because he’s not even a real doctor in my book. He was an osteopath (i.e. holistic health mumbo-jumbo for people who can’t hack med school). If you want your aura adjusted or learn how your muscular-skeletal system can cure cancer, AIDS, and CFS then go to an osteopath. But if you want someone to cut you open, perhaps you should look for the magic letters MD! Some states “license” osteopaths as if they were doctors, with full prescribing rights (note that few other countries are this stupid, only our benighted health authrities). Wow.

  21. Bobg says:

    @ABBAMOUSE My doctor is an osteopath. An osteopath has to go through one extra year of medical school to learn the more complex workings of the body. An osteopath is not a charlatan. I just found this out this morning-a friend of mine’s daughter broke her back a couple of days ago. The girl was taken to a local hospital and the hospital left the girl sit in a whelchair for hours and had her walking around. She was taken to Johns Hopkins where she underwent an 8 hour operation to put a steel rod in her back. The girl faces years of recovery.

  22. WV.Hillbilly says:

    What kind of judge lets a guy who butchered hundreds of patients change his name?

  23. @WV.Hillbilly: This is the age in which judges sue Korean dry cleaners for 55 million dollars. Judges are fucking tools. At least, lots of judges are fucking tools. They’re cranky, bitchy, entitled old farts.

  24. Cowboys_fan says:

    Somebody has to have hired the worst doctor. If not this guy, then the next one up becomes the worst.

  25. bethanypo says:

    Just a quick note: Osteopaths ARE ‘real doctors’… they take all the standard MD classes and then some extra ones. They are eligible to take the same boards as MDs (many do) and compete for the same residency positions as MDs. They actually have more training than MDs. Odds are you or someone close to you has been seen by an osteopath and you/they didn’t even realize it because they got the same care. Yes, you can be a DO and go into neurosurgery.

  26. MarvelaVole says:

    The problem with assuming that doctors only care about money and not about their patients, is that in order for them to continue seeing patients, they need to be good doctors… So they become good doctors to get money and…. the loop continues.

    Don’t tell Americans that our system is a bad one when we have the best medical system in the world.