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Clinic Sued for Medical Malpractice

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Vancouver, WAA medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against a pain clinic in Vancouver, Washington. The allegation is that three defendants who worked at the Payette Clinic—now doing business as the Walnut Grove Medical & Mental Health Clinic—"grossly" overprescribed narcotics to patients. Two of the plaintiffs named in the suit did not survive.

The Columbian reported on January 7 that Deborah Reid, 42, and Karen Stransky, 64, died from the effects of narcotics allegedly overprescribed. The families of the deceased women, together with two other plaintiffs who survived, filed a medical negligence action with Clark County Superior Court.

It is alleged that defendants Kelly Bell, Penny Steers and Scott Pecora overprescribed potent narcotics while the plaintiffs were patients at the clinic, all the while ignoring key warnings signs of serious risks to their health, according to the lawsuit.

The two surviving plaintiffs—Tina Wright, 47, and Malvena Goetz, 59—suffered serious withdrawal complications from the narcotics they were allegedly overprescribed.

Medical Malpractice lawyers for the plaintiffs allege six additional overdose deaths associated with the clinic in 2007 and 2008. The Columbian reported that complaints that surfaced in early 2009 resulted in separate investigations undertaken by the Washington State Department of Health and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The defendants are nurse practitioners who worked at the facility, according to court documents. Following the Department of Health investigation, it was determined that defendant Bell and various other staff at the facility would have to forfeit their licenses to prescribe narcotics for a period of two years.

The Columbian noted that in 2008 an Oregon teen died from the effects of smoking an oxycodone pill that had been prescribed to a Payette clinic patient. Following the revocation of the clinic's license to prescribe opioid drugs, hundreds of Payette patients sought narcotics from area hospitals and urgent care centers in what some called a public health crisis.

The two surviving plaintiffs in the medical negligence lawsuit are seeking unspecified damages. Meanwhile, plaintiff Reid died almost three years ago—January 8, 2008—allegedly from an overdose of opioids prescribed by the Payette clinic. Plaintiff Stransky died May 30, 2009, under allegedly similar circumstances.

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