Commonwealth Journal

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March 31, 2014

$10.6 million judgment returned in medical malpractice lawsuit

Somerset —

A $10.6 million judgment has been handed down against a former Somerset-based surgeon and Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in a civil case connected with a local woman’s January 2010 death. 
And while the case brought by the family of Pamela Dixon, 39, against Dr. John Husted and LCRH appears to be wrapping up after four years of litigation, four similar lawsuits are pending in federal court — three of those against Husted and LCRH and one of those against Husted only. 
A jury in the late hours of Tuesday, March 25, returned a verdict against LCRH, more than a month after the trial officially began on Feb. 10, 2014. The trial centered on Dixon’s Jan. 13, 2010 death, which came after she underwent laparoscopic bypass surgery — a surgery used to help with weight loss — at the hands of Husted on Dec. 17, 2009. 
The questions before jurors were whether Husted had been negligent in caring for and treating Dixon during her initial surgery, during a second surgery to repair an abdominal leak, and in her follow-up care. Also at question was whether LCRH had been negligent in marketing the bariatric program and allowing Husted to continue operating in spite of questionable complication rates, and if the hospital violated Kentucky consumer protection laws as an operating for-profit business. 
Plaintiff Bruce Dixon, Pamela Dixon’s husband, along with the couple’s two children, stated throughout the four years leading up to February’s trial that the hospital had allowed an unsafe bariatric program to operate, in spite of red flags that suggested Husted was incompetent. According to the plaintiffs’ pre-trial memorandum, pre-pared by their attorney Anne Oldfather, of Louisville, hospital administrators failed to oversee the start-up of the bariatric program — one pushed aggressively through advertising when it began in 2008 — and failed to properly review Husted’s first procedures within six months of the program’s start. 

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