SANTA FE — A surgeon who previously worked at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center is being sued for the 10th time in the last eight years.
Dr. Timothy Wetherill and Christus St. Vincent’s were named as codefendants in a medical malpractice suit filed in Santa Fe District Court Thursday. John Stumpf, through attorneys Stephen Tinkler and Paul Abrams, claims Wetheril botched an operation in February 2013 that caused additional injuries and complications that prompted Stumpf, 76, to seek treatment in Albuquerque.
He also claims that the hospital was negligent in employing Wetherill due to all the previous medical malpractice and wrongful death suits brought against him, although online court records show that all those suits have been dismissed, although under what terms is not specified.
St. Vincent’s spokesman Arturo Delgado said Wetherill has not worked at the hospital for at least a year.
According to the new complaint, Wetherill performed an operation on Stumpf on Feb. 25, 2013 but committed “various acts of negligence,” including making an abnormally large incision. Stumpf was discharged two days later but was admitted to the emergency room about a week later with complaints of abdominal pain, and Wetherill performed a second surgery to fix damage from the first one. The suit says Stumpf was admitted the University of New Mexico Hospital March 18, 2013 for conditions that were caused by Wetherill’s and St. Vincent’s “negligence during and following both surgeries.”
Stumpf is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for medical malpractice and negligence against Wetherill and the hospital, saying that “CHRISTUS was aware of repeated instances, usually numerous, in which patients were seriously injured or died under Defendant Dr. Wetherill’s care,” and the complaint says St. Vincent’s should have known Wetherill was “careless and incompetent” based on the previous lawsuits.
Delgado said he was unaware of the suit when reached Friday afternoon and said the hospital may not have been issued a court summons yet. “We’ll certainly review it, but I can’t comment further at this point,” he said.
Wetherill has been sued 10 times in New Mexico since 2008, but most of those cases were dropped with prejudice, meaning they can’t be refiled. The New Mexico Medical Board’s website shows that Wetherill’s medical license expired July 1, but he has until Sept. 30 to renew it.