Lawsuit Claims Hospital Should Have Known Doctor Presented Danger to Patients

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From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

“At first glance, surgeon John Christian Gunn seemed golden.

A graduate of Yale Medical School, he was eager to join Maysville’s Meadowview Regional Medical Center, an acute-care facility that couldn’t wait to get him on staff, according to court documents.

But within months of his 2005 arrival in Kentucky from Hillsboro, Texas, two of Gunn’s surgeries had gone dangerously awry, leading a Maysville physician to bluntly write to a hospital administrator saying that Gunn was a danger to patients.

hortly after that warning, 71-year-old Herberta “Bertie” Lang was dead following one of Gunn’s surgeries. Ironically, the physician who had warned the hospital was Lang’s personal doctor.

A trial is scheduled to begin Monday in Mason County Circuit Court, where Lang’s family has sued Meadowview, its former chief executive and the company that operates the hospital for corporate negligence.

Gunn’s insurance company settled last year with the family. Terms of the settlement are confidential.

Todd Thompson, the attorney for Meadowview Regional Medical Center; its owner, Lifepoint Hospitals; and former Meadowview chief executive officer David Loving did not return phone calls requesting comment.

Gunn was granted temporary privileges at Meadowview even though he had taken and failed the General Surgery Board exams in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also failed the exam in 2006.

Hospitals use their own discretion on whether to insist on board certification before allowing physicians to do surgery.

The case raises questions about how the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure monitors and credentials doctors. When Gunn received his Kentucky medical license in 2006, his temporary privileges at Meadowview had already been revoked. The licensure board file notes that it did not know that.

It’s unclear what Gunn did after he left Kentucky. He told the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure that he was going to Miami for a fellowship, and Florida Department of Health records indicate an active resident’s status.”

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