WhidbeyHealth faces malpractice lawsuits

Three medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against Whidbey Island Public Hospital District in the last three months.

The three separate complaints were filed in Island County Superior Court by former patients who claimed to have received negligent care from medical personnel employed by WhidbeyHealth in 2016 and 2017.

WhidbeyHealth’s legal counsel said hospital officials cannot comment on pending litigation.

In a lawsuit filed July 17, Tom Pacher, the former public defense attorney for Island County, claims that he is legally blind in one eye because a doctor who worked at a WhidbeyHealth clinic misdiagnosed his eye disorder and failed to refer him to “competent medical care” in a timely manner.

Pacher also outlines a couple of other instances that he claims shows substandard care in the last decade or so. In one, a doctor at a clinic prescribed him a medication contraindicated for a known allergy and then physicians at the clinic refused to answer his call for help, the lawsuit states.

Pacher claims that WhidbeyHealth misrepresented to the public on websites, press releases and public forums that it provides competent, caring and capable health care. If that were true, Pacher writes, “he would be able to use his right eye for something other than a place to park his eyelid.”

On May 28, a lawsuit was filed by the estate of a former WhidbeyHealth patient. A woman underwent surgery at the hospital for a hip fracture but did not consent to any other treatment. The surgeon, however, manipulated her shoulder and caused a fracture of the humerus, which he concluded was inoperable, the lawsuit claims.

In an answer to the lawsuit, the hospital maintains that the injury was not caused by the surgeon.

Because of the severe pain of the fracture, she was unable to perform the most basic activities of daily living, lost the will to live and passed away, the lawsuit claims.

In a lawsuit filed May 10, a woman claims that she became septic after a laparoscopic appendectomy at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

Her surgeon did not personally attend to her for hours despite growing concerns and her body began to crash, the complaint states.

The woman was intubated and fell into a coma. She suffered brain injuries.

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