In 2006, Pamela Campbell Smith of West Virginia was rushed to the emergency room with symptoms of high blood pressure and a possible heart attack – most notably nausea, vomiting, and headache. Emergency room doctor M. Anwar Abdeen treated the patient for pain and nausea and then sent her home in a wheelchair.
Later that night, her daughter, Tiffany Neil, called the emergency room again with information that her mother was not improving and was unresponsive. The ER nurse told the daughter that her mother should “sleep it off.” By 3 a.m., Campbell smith was dead from high blood pressure.
What followed Campbell Smith’s death was confusing to the family – mysterious notes were sent in the mail about the circumstance of her death, the doctor blamed the nurses, the hospital, Montgomery General Hospital, blamed the doctor, who they had disciplined in the past and who was let go from the hospital after the incident.
Montgomery General Hospital had been on notice before that night that Dr. Abdeen was not doing an acceptable job at his post in the emergency room before Campbell Smith was admitted – and before joining the staff of the hospital, two former employers had reported problems with his work. A wrongful death claim was settled privately while he was working at Mountain Emergency Physicians, and a Huntington medical center for veterans also found him to be threat to the health and safety of their patients.
Now, Campbell Smith’s family is arguing that the hospital knew that Dr. Abdeen was not qualified to help their mother and is suing for legal costs, punitive damages, and compensation.
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