A malpractice lawsuit against Freeman Neosho Hospital and two former doctors has been dismissed at the request of Wanda Duncan, the woman who filed it.
Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate that Ms. Duncan's lawyer, Ed Hershewe, filed for the voluntary dismissal Tuesday and it was granted without prejudice, meaning the case can be refiled.
Ms. Duncan's lawsuit is one of numerous lawsuits filed against Freeman Neosho, Freeman Health Systems, and former doctors Jeffrey Wool and William Bentz. The Duncan lawsuit was filed in February and alleged that Wool performed surgery while he was addicted to painkillers and was under their influence.
The lawsuit says Wool, Dr. William Bentz, and lab technicians Neidra DePuy and Margaret Bond were involved in a conspiracy of "performing surgeries under the influence of drugs and controlled substances."
The petition alleges Dr. Wool, during Ms. Duncan's first surgery, perforated her bowels, causing excessive bleeding and requiring a second surgery. During that surgery, the lawsuit said, the doctor put a graft in her body that led to complications from bleeding, pain, and scarring.
Wool and Dr. Bentz were both fired from the hospital after pleading guilty to fraudulently obtaining prescription painkillers. Wool wrote prescriptions for the painkillers for Bentz and for his live-in girlfriend at the time, Ms. DePuy, according to court records.
As has been noted earlier in The Turner Report, the lawsuit against Freeman Neosho and Wool is just the tip of the iceberg of the problems Wool has caused for the hospital.
Court records indicate at least eight malpractice lawsuits have been filed in the past two years against Wool, Freeman Neosho, and Freeman Health Systems.
One of those went to trial with the plaintiffs Jessee Eastburn, Tim Zengel, and David Zengel awarded $300,000 plus $1,457.80 in court costs on April 9, 2004.
Undisclosed settlements were reached in two other cases. Ronald Steven Taylor's lawsuit was settled March 7, according to court records. The case was filed on Aug. 10, 2004. The case against defendants Neidra DePuy, Margaret Bond, and Dr. William Bentz had been dismissed earlier, court records indicate.
The other case that was settled was a lawsuit filed by Minnie and Joseph Smith on June 4, 2003, against Wool and Freeman Health System.The lawsuits were brought after information was uncovered that Wool had fraudulently obtaining painkillers and allegedly did operations while under the influence. He pleaded guilty to drug charges in Newton County Circuit Court, and was given a suspended sentence.
A third case may well have been settled. Court records indicate that a lawsuit filed by Billie Aschentrop, 61, Neosho, against the same defendants had a "satisfaction of claims" and "satisfaction of costs by plaintiff" filed on June 3. The case had been scheduled for a two-day trial on Aug. 14 and 15.
A July 7 deposition of Dr. Bentz is scheduled in the malpractice suit filed by Daniel G. Gillett against the same defendants. No hearings have been scheduled in that case.
Another lawsuit against the same defendants, this one by Sherry Johnson, 64, Neosho, also represented by Hershewe, was dismissed without prejudice April 7, according to court records.