Sustained Outrage

The West Virginia Association for Justice was scheduled to recognize a Brooke County widower and his daughter on Thursday evening for their bravery and commitment to accountability involving a medical malpractice case from 2005.

David Haught and Crystal Rogerson are receiving the first ever Advocate for Justice award from the West Virginia Association for Justice at the the group’s annual convention at the Charleston Marriott.

Haught and Rogerson sued Weirton Medical Center after wife and mother Genevieve Haught died of complications associated with a surgery in 2005 to remove spots on her kidney that were thought to be cancerous.

The spots turned out not to be cancerous, but during the surgery, an assisting physician at Weirton Medical Center perforated her stomach. It was five days before she underwent a follow-up surgery.

She remained in the hospital for a month fighting an infection and then her family moved her to another hospital, where she remained for months on a ventilator and on dialysis. Her family took her off life support six months after the surgery.

The family alleged that the surgeon was wrongfully allowed by the medical center to perform a surgery he had done alone only once before.

The West Virginia Association for Justice, a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys that advocates for the civil justice system, chose Haught and Rogerson for the award because they rejected the hospital’s settlement offer that had strings attached. In exchange for a settlement, the hospital wanted the family to sign an agreement saying they would not  tell anyone about the settlement.

“We believe that the hospital needed to be called on the record about what they did,” Rogerson said in a press release. “We didn’t care if it cost us everything. We did not want one other family to go through what we did.”

After a jury was selected for a trial, the hospital presented a $2 million offer of judgment in court with no strings attached, which the family accepted.

Earlier the family accepted a settlement from the assisting physician. The family still has a case pending with the surgeon.

“David Haught and Crystal Rogerson exemplify the West Virginians we sought to recognize when we created this award. From the beginning, their greater concern was informing the public about what happened at the facility to ensure it would never happen again. Their courage will undoubtedly save lives,” Allan N. Karlin, president of the Association for Justice, said in a news release.